By Justin Wier
Youngstown State University’s Honors College held its first recognition ceremony on Friday, April 10, following an announcement naming the three finalists to be the college’s first dean.
The professors being considered are Stephen Gage, director of bands for YSU’s Dana School of Music; Adam Earnheardt, chair of the department of communications; and Tom Wakefield, assistant professor in the department of mathematics and statistics.
Betty Jo Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration, who was recognized during the event as being vital to the formation of the honors college, led the search committee.
“[We] determined that these three candidates have the mix of knowledge, skills and experiences that match the position description,” Licata said.
At the ceremony, students received awards and their certificates, pins and medallions.
Amy Cossentino, assistant director of the university scholars and honors program, said the college needed to do more to honor its members.
“[In the past], seniors came into my office, turned in their senior projects and I handed them a medallion. And it didn’t feel right,” Cossentino said.
Jim Tressel, president of YSU, spoke about the importance of the Honors College.
“This is a special day. YSU can become all we dream of, in part because of what you’ve done,” Tressel said.
He said the students present at the ceremony have provided a foundation upon which the university can increase its excellence.
Martin Abraham, interim provost at YSU, said the ceremony helps recognize the importance of honors activity.
“[This event is] symbolic of the way we’re looking to enhance the honors and scholars programs,” Abraham said.
Abraham outlined five pillars of the program moving forward: engagement, interdisciplinary perspectives, leadership, research and scholarship and global citizenship.
He said a quality university education has an interdisciplinary focus and said collaboration between fields is “where creativity happens.” He also said there needs to be greater participation in scholarship nationally and internationally, and that studying abroad needs to be easier and more frequent.
Brett Conner, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering and the event’s keynote speaker, spoke about the synergy between the core values he learned in the Air Force — integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do — and the pillars of the Honors College as identified by Abraham. He cited the Tuskegee Airmen as being exemplary of these values.
Student leadership awards were presented to Alex Welsh and Greta Frost. Student service awards were presented to Alana Lesnansky and Kayla Zitello. Laura West, Megan Evans, Ashley Orr, Jennifer Moore, Lauren Eisenreich and Shawn Doyle all received student academic awards.
Faculty awards were presented to Thomas Wakefield for honors course, Ndinzi Masagara for honors contract, Lucas Hardy for Senior Capstone and Ronald Shaklee for honors seminar.
Joshua Hiznay received an honors alumni award.