Provost ‘honored’ to assume YSU interim presidency

Provost ‘honored’ to assume YSU interim presidency

Provost ‘honored’ to assume YSU interim presidency


The man who later this week will assume the Youngstown State University presidency on an interim basis says he’s honored to take the position.

Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for academic affairs, however, hasn’t changed his retirement plans. A part of YSU since 1968, Khawaja plans to retire June 30.

“I feel honored to be asked,” he said of university trustees’ decision to appoint him interim president, effective Saturday.

He’ll replace Randy Dunn, YSU’s eighth president, who after only seven months on the job, announced last month that he had accepted the presidency of Southern Illinois University. After an amendment to his contract, Dunn’s last day at YSU will be Friday .

“Not being artificial about it — starting as an assistant professor and ending up as interim president — to me there is a sense of pride there,” Khawaja said. “I don’t like the circumstances, but I feel very, very accomplished and honored that that’s taking place.”

YSU trustees contracted with AGB Search of Washington, D.C., the same search firm that led the search that landed Dunn, to lead the search for the next president. Because Dunn left within a year, the firm isn’t charging a fee for its services.

Khawaja acknowledged the serious issues facing YSU.

Since 2011, enrollment has been on the decline. The amount of state support has decreased and because of a projected deficit, Dunn last fall instituted spending freezes and cuts which included the layoffs of a handful of employees.

Khawaja left the country Jan. 23, first traveling to Paris to visit his daughter and then on to Pakistan where he has family. He learned of Dunn’s pending departure and the board’s plan for him to assume the interim presidency while overseas from a YSU representative. He returned to the U.S. Wednesday and came back to the Mahoning Valley Thursday.

Read more in Sunday’s Vindicator.

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