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YSU gears up for presidential search

Published: Thu, January 10, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.



By Denise Dick



The chairman of Youngstown State University’s trustees expects the search for the university’s eighth president to be similar to the search process for outgoing President Cynthia E. Anderson, but at a lower cost.

Anderson, who became YSU’s seventh president in July 2010, announced last month her plans to retire July 1.

“I expect we’ll have a process similar to what we did three years ago,” said Dr. Sudershan Garg, trustees chairman.

The size of the search committee this time, however, likely will be smaller, he said.

Previously, the committee included 22 members with four or five of them from the trustees panel. This time, Dr. Garg envisions all nine trustees, the two student trustees and five or six people from the university community and community in general.

The chairman said he has some people in mind for the committee and will present them to the full board at a meeting at 3 p.m. Friday.

For the previous search, the university paid a total $176,000 to Storbeck/Pimental & Associates of Media, Pa., the search firm; and for travel and related expenses for finalists who came to town.

Part of that cost involved the firm developing a “Profile of the Institution & Position.”

“I don’t think we’ll have to change the profile of the institution” because the university hasn’t changed much in the past three years, Dr. Garg said.

“We’ll try to save as much as we can, but it doesn’t make sense to be penny wise and pound foolish,” he said.

Dr. Garg said the university’s next president has to have the confidence of the faculty, be able to carry out the 2020 strategic plan developed under Anderson, get along with the board and be cognizant of YSU’s tight finances.

Dr. Garg said trustees were surprised by Anderson’s announcement last month.

“I think she did a good job as president,” he said. “She kept the students happy, kept the faculty happy and more importantly made sure the university didn’t run in the red.”

Anderson, the first woman, YSU graduate and Mahoning Valley native to serve as president, also will be the YSU president with the shortest tenure. Albert L. Pugsley, YSU’s second president, saw the second-shortest term with seven years from 1966 to 1973, according to YSU archives.

Anderson’s immediate predecessor, David Sweet, occupied the post for 10 years.

Five to seven years is the average of public university presidents, according to Inter-University Council of Ohio.

In the last search, there were 300 initial contacts with individuals interested in the post, and that number was narrowed to about 50 for the search committee to review.

The committee narrowed the list to 11 people for interviews and then narrowed it again to the four finalists that were presented to trustees three years ago.


1atowngrad(21 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago


The last statement regarding Anderson spending the money to renovate Wick Pollock is incorrect. Granted she was in office when the renovations began, however the monetary allocations and professional design services were handeled under Dr. Sweet's tenure.

Therefore, Dr. Sweet and the Board of Trustees are responsible for the Wick Pollock project...not Dr. Anderson.

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2csky(10 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

There is a great story to be told about the Wick Pollack Inn. It was solely the initiative of the BOT and one BOT member in particular. It was approved over the objection of the Sweet administration and contrary to plans developed for the building. This is all in the public record if anyone would care to look it up.

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3republicanRick(1218 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Let's say a younger man/woman with a family and children is looking to become the next President of YSU. Are they going to want to live isolated in the remodeled Mansion of Wick? Or, would they prefer to live in a nice community in one of our suburbs?

I think the mansion will limit the number of people who would want to come to YSU. Who wants to live a solitary existence with no amenities close by? Not many.

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4Spiderlegs(141 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I'd like to know why Anderson is retiring. Personal issues? Fear of the future? Doesn't want to deal with upcoming contract negotiations or the declining number of HS graduates in the Ytown area? Just plain tired?

Maybe reviews on her time are mixed on an item-by-item basis, but overall YSU is a better place now than it was three years ago.

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5dennishough(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The 3 years she spent in office is directly related to her retirement. I believe her salary was somewhere around $150K in her previous position. If you look back at her 37 previous years, she contributed maybe 10% of her earnings...so let's assume she contributed $1.5MM to the retirement system. Her 3 years as President put her average salary just around $375K, and I believer her retirement percentage is about 91%. So she'll be drawing a retirement income of roughly $340K per year. So what took her 40 years to contribute, she will drawn down in just over 4 years. This was all about a sweetheart deal from the Board to her as a going away present. If she had retired 3 years ago at a salary of $150K, her retirement income would have been about $136K, for a difference of $200K per year. Assuming maybe a 20 year retirement, this represents a $4MM "gift" from the YSU Board of Trustees to her, payable by the current and future state school employees. Oh yeah...and YSU paid $170,000 to find her for this position. I can't believe there isn't a criminal investigation into this. She should be ashamed of herself for bailing out at the earliest possible moment to collect her embarrassing retirement income...a retirement income that is twice what her highest pay was prior to the appointment as President. Talk about the fleecing of a state...this has got to be one of the worst examples of gaming the system. I can't wait to see who they pick next.

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