Earlier this month, Eugene Grilli, Youngstown State University’s vice president for Finance and Administration, announced his intent to depart from the university. In Grilli’s absence, Neal McNally, director of budget planning and treasury operations, will serve as his interim replacement.
Grilli will leave YSU to accept the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. Along with Grilli’s departure, YSU President Randy Dunn has submitted his resignation, and Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, has announced his retirement.
Despite holes in the university’s administrative atmosphere, Grilli expressed optimism for the university’s future.
“I think the university is very flexible and adaptive to change. It has proven that that is the case in the past. I think the university will move forward just as it has before, addressing problems and issues that come up in a very positive way,” he said.
McNally also responded to administrative changes with confidence.
“Clearly, these are huge changes. Anytime there are significant leadership changes, it does create some concern and uncertainty about the future. But I am optimistic and feel these changes represent opportunities for YSU to move forward in a positive way,” McNally said.
As director of budget planning and treasury operations, McNally has led and managed financial planning and resource allocation for all facets of the University. Additionally, he oversees both the cash management and bursar functions of the school.
McNally said he believes these responsibilities have prepared him to serve as interim vice president for Finance and Administration.
“I do believe I am prepared to serve as interim vice president,” he said. “I have 19 years of professional experience in higher education, including 11 years at the Ohio Board of Regents and nearly 8 years at YSU. I hold two degrees from Ohio State University, including a master’s degree in public finance. I am truly honored that the Board of Trustees and President Dunn have placed their collective faith and trust in me to take on this critical role.”
Grilli said he is positive of McNally’s skillset and believes he will serve the university well.
“He brings a lot of experience with him. I am extremely confident that he will do a good job,” Grilli said. “Neal is a huge asset to the university. … He’s proven time and again that he is capable of doing the work of a vice president.”
Though there is a chance that he could become the next permanent vice president for Finance, McNally said he is currently focusing on serving as interim.
“My immediate focus will be on fulfilling my duties as interim vice president,” he said. “I’m less concerned about my own career and more focused helping YSU get through this period of transition. Gene Grilli has not only been my boss for the past several years, he’s also been a tremendous mentor. He’s leaving big shoes to fill, and I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me.”