By Samantha Phillips
Anita Hackstedde was raised in the Mahoning Valley and received her undergraduate degree at Youngstown State University. Now she’s returning to serve as the newest member of the YSU Board of Trustees.
“I have a tremendous interest in the success of YSU,” Hackstedde said. “It gave me a great education. I wouldn’t trade it for the world; it gave me a strong foundation.”
Gov. John Kasich appointed Hackstedde on Sept. 16, and she attended her first committee meetings on Wednesday. Hackstedde will serve five years, finishing the term left vacant by the passing of Jim Greene.
Hackstedde said she is proud to have been selected. As a YSU alumna, she has a personal connection with the university.
After earning her undergraduate degree at YSU, she attended Ohio State University’s College of Medicine to get her medical degree and did her residency training in Akron.
At the start of her career in the medical field, she decided to move back home to the Mahoning Valley.
“It’s a great place to live and work and raise a family,” she said. “I like to see the community thrive — there have been some positive changes coming about. I’ve loved seeing what YSU has accomplished in the past few years.”
As the CEO of the Salem Regional Medical Center, she is experienced with working on a board to run an organization. She has been CEO for three years — overseeing over 1,000 employees — and she was previously the vice president of Medical Affairs for 10 years.
She said some of the struggles the healthcare industry faces are similar to those of higher education, like affordability.
“I do love my job,” she said. “Healthcare is a tough industry to be in, just like higher education.”
Hackstedde said she cares deeply about making education affordable for students, but she has other priorities as well.
“I do think ensuring a high success rate through high graduation rate and good job placement is important,” she said. “YSU is doing a fantastic job, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Hackstedde said students, faculty, staff and senior leadership must work together to cultivate success at YSU. She said the trustees are engaged and care about the university, and they have to make difficult decisions regarding the university.
She described herself as a “glass half-full kind of person” and said having a positive attitude is essential to create positive change.
“You have to be realistic, but you also have to have a positive outlook,” she said.
Leonard Schiavone, vice-chairperson of the board, said he has met with Hackstedde and believes she will serve the board well.
“I am quite confident that she will prove to be a very involved and dedicated trustee, and do what’s best for Youngstown State University,” he said.