We believe in Randy Dunn
Youngstown State University’s new president, Randy Dunn, delivered his first State of the University Address on Monday morning. Dunn focused on his three E’s: enrollment — YSU is looking to attract students; engagement — the university is expanding its partnerships with local businesses; and excellence — YSU can boast of past achievements and look forward to future successes.
His first major speech as president started out glumly.
“Over the next eighteen months to two years, we have to stabilize our revenue stream,” Dunn said. “For this year alone, the one just completed — fiscal year 13 — we are looking at about 1.9 million dollars in deficit.”
He also explained that each one percent drop in enrollment equals about a $1 million loss in revenue. YSU’s low graduation rates, which are becoming increasingly tied to state funding, are also not helping the situation.
But Dunn eventually turned the tone of his speech around and sold his vision of YSU’s future to the YSU community.
“People want to be associated with a winner. And we can show that we are a winner. We have a thousand ways we can show it. And we are going to show it,” Dunn said.
Dunn also emphasized blossoming relationships with community institutions like the Youngstown Business Incubator, which was named the 11th best university affiliated incubator in the world in July.
As Gotham’s moral savior, Harvey Dent once proclaimed, “The night is darkest just before the dawn.”
The future of YSU is certainly a bright one.
With the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics receiving a $440 million donation from Siemens, the Beeghly College of Education being named one of the top 40 schools for teacher education and YSU’s fiscal rating on the upswing, there is certainly a lot to be excited about in the coming years.
But for now, there are problems to deal with. Dropping enrollment, declining funds and making YSU attractive to students — not just from the Mahoning Valley or Ohio, but from across the nation — are all things that are holding this university back from its maximum potential.
Randy Dunn seems excited to take on these challenges to make YSU a better university, and right now, it’s all talk. But he’s been in charge for just over a month. He needs time to make good on his promises and visions. Things will not get better overnight. We won’t wake up one day and see our school on the same level as Ohio State. It just won’t happen.
But, for the time being and until he shows us reason to believe otherwise, we believe in Randy Dunn.