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YSU’s First Couple moves in

Published: Tue, July 9, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

New YSU president, wife will reside at Pollock House


Randy and Ronda Dunn look over items to be arranged in their new home, the Pollock House, as Dunn prepares to take office as Youngstown State University’s eighth president July 15. The Dunns began moving into the historic mansion Monday, coming from Murray, Ky., where Dunn served as president of Murray State University for six years.

By Denise Dick



When they finish unpacking and arranging every-thing in the Pollock House, Youngstown State University incoming President Randy Dunn and his wife, Ronda, plan to explore the Mahoning Valley.

Dunn takes office Monday, but the couple made the nine-hour drive from their former home in Murray, Ky., Sunday, their packed moving truck arriving Monday morning at the university-owned Pollock House on Wick Avenue.

“It took two days to pack, it and it’ll take a day to unpack,” said Dunn, 55.

YSU restored the historic Pollock House, built in 1893, to become the president’s residence. The $4.5 million project finished last September. Since former YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson, who retired June 30, already owned her own home, the Dunns will be the first to live in the mansion.

Dunn, dressed in shorts and a YSU T-shirt, directed movers as they lugged furniture and boxes out of the truck and into the house. Ronda pointed the crew to the appropriate rooms on the second floor.

“The first floor is for entertaining,” Dunn said. “It’s all university furnishings. The second floor will be our residence.”

Although moving day was Monday, the couple received a copy of a sketch of the second floor, allowing them to plan ahead of time what would go where.

“I love it,” Ronda Dunn said of the house. “It’s beautiful.”

The Pollock House is also bigger than the house they came from, owned by Murray State University, where Dunn served as president for six years.

Before he officially takes office, Dunn and his wife plan to learn more about the area.

“We want to get out and explore a little bit more,” he said.

He read a recent story in The Vindicator about The Elmton in Struthers and the couple plans to dine there one night. His Murray State office staff gave the couple a gift certificate to Michael Alberini’s restaurant in Boardman and they’ll plan a nice evening there some time too.

His first week in office will be full of activity. He’ll make the media rounds, visit some summer semester classes and meet with the university’s vice presidents before a Monday afternoon welcome reception.

“The first day there will be a lot of meetings,” he said.

One of the first things on his agenda as president is enrollment, which has slipped in recent years.

When he visited YSU last month to sign his contract, Dunn met with Gene Grilli, vice president of finance and administration, for a budget tutorial and he plans to continue learning more about that too.

As he did at Murray State, Dunn plans to continue the outreach to the community surrounding YSU.

As the city experiences a rebirth, the university needs to be a part of that, he said.

“That’s probably going to be the defining foundation of my presidency — outreach and support,” Dunn said. “Of course we always have our core work of teaching and learning and research and helping students proceed to graduation. But the mark of my presidency is going to be having the university being integrally involved in building and supporting the region.”


1kurtw(1675 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow, the President and First Lady will take residence in a 4.5 Million Dollar Mansion- meanwhile Y.S.U. is loosing enrollment and students are struggling to meet their ever-increasing tuition fees. Wow. What am I missing here? I guess I just just don't get the "Big Picture". I always thought when a company, or organization, had financial problems the first step- from the top down- was for everyone to "tighten belts". I guess I was wrong. Enjoy your stay in your new Mansion, Mr. President!

P.S. I know this may be an impertinent question, but will there also be a Presidential Aircraft or Helicopter (modeled after Airforce One) and will there be an Inaugural Ball where Commoners are welcome?

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2kurtw(1675 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

So, the President and First Lady want to "explore" their new Kingdom a little bit- how wonderful! First place should be the lower South Side- near Williamson Ave.- They'll find the Adult Toy and Book Store nestled in a lovely residential area (perhaps go in and pick up some Treasures for the Presidential Bedroom). Only advice I would give- go early in the day and have a Secret Service Escort.

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3kurtw(1675 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I had a lot of fun with above story (thank you for that!) but, seriously, was there ever a greater argument for Community Colleges and places like ITT-Tech? People who run those places aren't treated like quasi-royalty, housed in Million Dollar houses and paid 5 times- at least- what they're worth. Also, though they are treated with respect, they're not "butt-kissed" as if they belong to a superior Caste- President and First Lady, gimme a break! The whole thing is nothing more than one elaborate, and costly, DOG AND PONY SHOW!

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4northsideperson(366 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Most likely, the Wick Pollock was remodeled with capital funds, not operating funds (where tuition comes from). Separate budgets, separate sources, and you can't mingle them.

That doesn't mean that there aren't issues. Two union contracts come up next summer.

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5dmacker(486 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

As the article says when you've got a city and university on the rise you must offer enough money and perks to lure the very best president the country has to offer.
That why we got Randy Dunn from Murray, Kentucky.

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6peacelover(834 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Anyone else here think that the headline and caption are not appropriate for the photo?

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7republicanRick(1672 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

YSU is the crown jewel of Youngstown and we are lucky to have such a fine university. Good luck to the Dunns.

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8walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The project was in the capital expenditures budget, not the operating budget. The proceeds for construction came from bonds and private donations. The property is owned by YSU and the trustees are responsible for ensuring the property has a plan for maintenance and improvements. Most universities have a residence for the president that is quite impressive. As for community colleges and tech schools, YSU is an institution of higher learning, not job training. The amount of scholarly research done there has increased dramatically. The president is responsible for increasing the donations for all types of projects and scholarship. I donate to my alma mater every year and target my donation to the engineering school. And, as for cleaning up Y-town, the university is totally responsible for the resurrection of the area adjacent to the campus. Dr. dunn has his work cut out for him to see YSU through tough times.

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9JoeFromHubbard(1714 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I remember taking classes in that fine old building and in the carriage house/garage down below.

I think they did a nice job of refurbishing the structure that had been abused by grandiose plans that simply failed.

The old Clingan-Waddell Hall on Rayen Ave., once a telephone company building, class room structure, and YSU Presidential residence should have been made the permanently designated presidential home instead of reinventing the wheel at the corner of Spring and Wick.

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10RoddAC(102 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

KurtW - Just shut up. I'll bet you're on some type of government funding and think you have the right to denigrate YSU...probably never even set foot on the campus, let alone attend there. Every time I drive down Wick Ave, I marvel at how beautiful the Wick Pollock is now. I'm sorry, but I get so impatient with such negativity that seems to thrive in our area. As they move in...please move out. That would make you happy...or else try and actually DO something to improve things rather than just bitch. That is all folks!!!

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11harleydog(243 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I stayed at that "hotel" when I worked for pharmor. That is where they put us up when we went for training at the office for a month. It was nice back then but really looks nice now. I believe it was back in 1990.

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12Owlguin(50 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

As a long-distance reader it is never suprising but always disheartening that I can expect so many negative comments after almost any article in the Vindi. I really wonder if it is a representative attitude of the people in the area resulting from so many years of problems.

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13Penguinz(18 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Welcome to YSU!

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14doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh man, the haters are out in full force today. Let me guess, you're all tea party folks. Of course you'll all deny it. Can't stand when a highly educated person gets the big gov't job and earns the big paycheck. As if the guy hasn't worked his a-- off to get to the position he's in. Meanwhile, the majority of you will go on racking up medical bills paid for by medicare, of course, and cashing your social security checks -- and when you're all done, you'll go back to screaming about less gov't spending. Pathetic.

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15DSquared(1727 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually they're all liberals wanting their "share" of all dat money Jack! That was a huge assumption doubled.

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16mcree(22 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Regardless, who is living there. I commend the university for saving the historic house from the wrecking ball. So many historical buildings are being lost in the city. The loss of the Paramount Theater today is one example. Many university presidents live in homes such as this. It's not his and he is only occupying the second floor with there own furnishings. It's too bad YSU didn't invest in saving the paramount for their arts department.

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17kurtw(1675 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

A number of people seem to have taken umbrage at some of my remarks concerning our "First Couple". I'm sorry I offended, that was not my intention- I'm truly contrite and, if some of my language was a bit rough- or ribald- I humbly apologize for that.

One of my fellow commentators went so far as to tell me to "shut up". Well, ma'am, I won't do that (I assumed you were a woman from the- well, the word you used, you know B---- tone of your remarks- but you could be a man from the "bitch" reference which I'm not sure a Lady would use- Incidentally, Why didn't the Vindy Censor that word? Isn't it Sexist?)

I think, even though I went overboard a little with the rhetoric, the gist of my criticism is well-founded. YSU is losing money and enrollment and has for years and, even though the Pollack Renovation came from Capital Improvement Bonds- I'm sure it must be costing the University something in the way of Interest- similar to the Covelli Center. Also, someone said the head of ITT-Tech was astronomically compensated- millions- but that's a chain isn't it? A proper comparison would be what the local manager makes compared to President Dunn's compensation.

Finally, my apologies to the Dunn's for some of my rough language (I'm not a professional writer- just a Plumber by Trade)- it isn't their fault that they belong to a Dog and Pony Show- pays pretty well, though, doesn't it?

P.S. I heard a number of references to my post being "hateful". Well, I'm sorry, but that's a load of Crap. Anytime anyone makes a remark or criticism that's unpopular or defiant they call it "hateful" and try to muzzle it (Just shut up- Kurtw!) Remember Socrates? I'm not in his Shoes by a Mile, but the principle applies. When, the Athenians didn't like what Socrates had to say- which they needed to hear, as History has shown- they called his speech "hateful" and made him drink Poison Hemlock- Just shut up, Kurtw!

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