YSU President Delivers State of the University Address

YSU President Jim Tressel delivers state of the university address [Annie Wu / ideastream]

It’s been two and a half years since Jim Tressel became President of Youngstown State University.  At his state of the University address Thursday, he discussed some of the funding challenges ahead.

"When Howard Mettee started teaching here, most of you weren’t alive," Tressel joked before turning serious.  "But the state funded about 80% of the cost of education.  Today, we’re at about, what..  25%?"

Retired physical chemistry professor Mettee started at YSU in 1968.  Today, Tressel said he hopes to increase the university's revenues through the graduate school and by attracting more international students who pay higher tuition rates.  And he pointed out the YSU Foundation has raised nearly $40 million since he took office. 

Tressel said grant dollars for research is on the upswing but more staff is needed in the research development office.

"It’s an area where we want to keep growing.  We want to get better.  It’s important for our society," said Tressel.  "It’s important for our faculty to know that they’re supported in the research and the passion area that they happen to have."

Tressel also plans to prioritize improved communication among administrators, faculty and students.  He said it was the number one concern raised in a series of campus surveys and forums conducted this past fall.  And he said better communication will help students and staff feel more engaged in the YSU community.

"If we do a great job communicating, then I think we will move in large steps toward that feeling that there was shared governance, there was shared input, there was shared discussion," Tressel said.  He added that beginning this semester there will be activities and initiatives aimed at fostering a culture of respect and inclusion.

The president, also known as the coach who led YSU to four football championship titles in the 1990's had little to say about the Penguins' chance at a fifth FCS championship title this weekend.  Tressel was self-deprecating when asked if he had given the team any advice before they set off for Frisco, Texas, earlier this week.

"Football?  I don’t know anything about football.  They’ve done fine without me.  I don’t want to mess them up.  So we’re all good."

YSU faces the Dukes of James Madison University this Saturday at noon.

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