Youngstown State University’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution earlier this month to name the Wick Avenue pedestrian bridge after the Stavich family.
In 1952, Steve Stavich — along with his brothers George, John and Andy — founded Calex Corp. in Campbell. Their business grew in size and eventually became one of the largest aluminum production companies in the nation.
While Calex Corp. is no longer operational, the Stavich family maintains a presence in the community, having made charitable donations to both Campbell City Schools and to YSU.
At the age of 80, Alice Klempay, daughter of the late Steve Stavich, is the oldest living member of the Stavich family.
“It is so right and so appropriate to name the bridge after [my father and uncles]. It means a lot to me, and if they were here, it would mean a lot to them too,” she said. “It’s absolutely thrilling. It brings me to tears.”
Klempay said her father and uncles used the severance pay they earned serving in the military to start a storm-window production company. It wasn’t until her father saw an extrusion press at a convention in Chicago that the family got into the aluminum business.
Even as their business grew, Klempay explained, the family remained down-to-earth, taking good care of all of their employees.
“They were always very humble,” she said. “As a reward to their employees, they would take them to Florida — the whole plant they’d take.”
Board member Harry Meshel echoed this sentiment, calling the Stavich family “extraordinary.”
“They started a plant a long, long time ago. As they grew, the employees grew,” he said. “They shared a good deal of their profits with their employees.”
In 2008, the Stavich family made a $2.7 million contribution to the YSU Foundation to fund scholarships for incoming YSU students who graduated from Campbell Memorial High School.
Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, commended the Stavich family for their generosity.
“[The Stavich donation] is a significant fund and it has helped countless students,” McFadden said. “The bridge will be a lasting legacy as will their endowment.”
Meshel agreed, explaining that the family’s donation is indicative of “their sense of compassion and support for local institutions.”
“They are willing to share,” he said.
The Stavich Family Bridge
With all the buildings on campus already named, the YSU Foundation decided that the Wick Avenue pedestrian bridge ought to be named after the Stavich Family — a decision that pleased Klempay.
“There is no one left to carry on the name. So, the bridge is very important,” Klempay said. “I am very excited about this.”
Aside from immortalizing the Stavich name, Meshel pointed out that naming the bridge — a structure that connects Meshel Hall and the parking deck to the rest of the university — also contains symbolic meaning.
“The bridge was ideal in several ways,” Meshel said. “It seemed like an emotional bridge — you were connecting the family to the university.”
A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly named bridge is currently being planned.