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YSU trustees narrow presidential list to six

Published: Fri, April 25, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.

Board of trustees will interview candidates via Skype this weekend



By Denise Dick



Three traditional and three nontraditional candidates make up the list of six applicants Youngstown State University trustees will interview for the university presidency.

Meanwhile, the university learned a current dean is a finalist for a job at another university.

Besides Jim Tressel, former YSU and Ohio State head football coach, the other two nontraditional candidates are D. Marshall Porterfield, director of Space Life and Physical Sciences Division Human Exploration Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters; and Steven M. Rothstein of Watertown, Mass., president of Perkins School for the Blind.

Tressel, who also is a finalist for the presidency at the University of Akron, has worked as that university’s executive vice president for student success since 2012.

The traditional candidates, or those with provost or university presidential experience, are Gayle L. Ormiston, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va; Mary Cullinan, president and English professor, Southern Oregon University; and Gary L. Miller, chancellor, University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU board, said the trustees included nontraditional candidates during the last presidential search as well.

“All the people have good backgrounds and good, at least initial, references, and their work stands out in the university they’re serving,” Garg said.

Cullinan earned both her doctorate and master’s in English literature at the University of Wisconsin and her bachelor’s in honors English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tressel earned his master’s in education at the University of Akron and bachelor’s in education at Baldwin Wallace College.

Ormiston earned his doctorate in philosophy from Purdue University and master’s and bachelor’s in philosophy from Kent State University. He was a finalist earlier this year for the presidency at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.

Rothstein earned his master’s of business administration from Northeastern University and bachelor’s from Williams College.

Miller earned his doctorate in biological sciences from Mississippi State University and master’s and bachelor’s in biology from the College of William and Mary.

Porterfield, who was the founding director of the Physiology Sensing Facility at Purdue University, where he also worked as a professor, earned his doctorate from Louisiana State University and bachelor’s in cell biology from the University of South Alabama.

Trustees will interview the six via Skype on Saturday, after which they will narrow the list to three finalists who will come to campus to meet with campus and community groups.

Tressel is scheduled to visit the University of Akron on Thursday, the last day of finalist visits there.

Garg said Tressel’s status in the UA presidential search won’t affect YSU’s timeline. If Tressel is offered the UA position before YSU completes its process, YSU would contact him to determine if he’s still interested in the YSU presidency, Garg said.

“We’re already on a very tight schedule,” he said. “We can’t work faster.”

Shearle Furnish, founding dean of YSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Science, is one of three finalists to become dean of the new University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s College of Arts, Letters and Sciences, according to that university’s website. Furnish’s campus interviews are scheduled for May 8 and May 9.

He’s been at YSU for nine years and earlier this month said he also has applied to be provost and vice president for academic affairs at YSU.


1Seriouslee(148 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Gosh, the open position advertisements are enough to cause a budget deficit. Wanted: President, Provost, VP Financial Affairs, VP Development, Dean; STEM, Dean; Fine and Performing Arts; Dean, College of Liberal Arts...and if anyone in Columbus has any sense...Board of Trustees.

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2YtownSports(306 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Whoever gets the job had better be ready to hit the ground running. The learning curve needs to be short. Much needs to be done.

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3Notorious_Pig(117 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

If anyone thinks that someone other than "The Vest" Tress is at the top of this list, then you need to pull your head out of the sand. This job is Tress's for the takin'. All he has to say is, "I want it." Is he the best candidate? Not even close. Is he the candidate that brings the most media, recruits, endorsements, and name-recognition? Absolutely. ESPN will most likely have an office down on Federal St. if he becomes the PREZ! Tress would be good for recruits, good for $$ coming to the school, but his credentials don't stack up to the others at all.

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4billdog1(5771 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Getting donations for sports and for education are two vary different things. Jim's a good guys guy, but getting money to educate people is different than getting money for a sports program. Go ask any university president, superintendent or private school. The sports freaks are out throwing money at ball-fields, equipment, and even personnel, but those same people will say the gooberment gives plenty for education, get better grades, etc... Yet the ball player with a 1.0 GPA can run with a ball so he deserves millions. Then when schools are faced with with cutbacks, we always hear how much money sports brings in. Sports pay for themselves. PALEASE!!!

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5DSquared(1778 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

No one will be more involved in the community than Tressel. Hurry up and sign him while you can. As far as the NASA guy, don't forget ODumbo turned it into a Musim Outreach organization.

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6mrblue(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Cut the crap. Hire Tressel now and be done with it. He is definately NOT the most qualified, but everybody knows his name. And what's up with all the defections?

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7YSU2(17 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes. Let show the kids on campus lying and cheating does get u ahead. Vote for "The Vest" Tressel!!!

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