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YSU student center gets boost with $5M Zoldan gift

Zoldan family contributes $5M to $20M fundraising campaign

The Zoldan family has donated $5 million toward a new student center at YSU.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Zoldan family of Youngstown, founders of Phantom Fireworks, is donating $5 million to Youngstown State University’s campaign to renovate Kilcawley Center or build a new student center on campus.

The donation matches the largest gifts ever given to YSU and, in turn, the new facility will be called the Zoldan Family Center.

“The word ‘philanthropy’ certainly describes the Zoldan family,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “The word comes from the Greek language and means love of humanity. Bruce Zoldan and the entire Zoldan family have once again lived up to that definition. We thank them for their tremendous generosity in helping to make the dream of a new student center move closer to reality here at YSU.”

“The Zoldan family has benefited from the university’s continued strong presence here in our community,” said Bruce J. Zoldan, president and chief executive of Phantom Fireworks. “It is a privilege to be able to give back and support President Tressel and the entire YSU community and to make a difference in the lives of all of our students.”

Ellen and Jim Tressel are leading the campaign to raise $20 million for a new student center on campus.

The Zoldans are longtime supporters of YSU, including a $1 million gift in 2020 for student scholarships and to establish a new mentorship program, in honor of their parents, Sam and Sylvia Zoldan, and their uncle, Abe Yampolsky.

“Bruce and his family are at the top of the list of success stories at YSU, and their legacy now joins the likes of the Williamsons, Meshels, Kohlis, DeBartolos, Beeghlys, Cafaros and so many other YSU benefactors,” Tressel said.

Renovation of Kilcawley Center has been on the board’s radar for several years. At the December board of trustees meeting, a resolution to approve renovations at Kilcawley Center was passed. The student center is expected to be closed for 2 1/2 years during construction.

The university will make accommodations for students, such as providing alternative plans for events usually hosted in Kilcawley and areas for students to continue working while the center is under construction, officials told the student newspaper, The Jambar, earlier this week.

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