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YSU’s Jim Tressel announces plan to retire in 2023

Special to The Review

YOUNGSTOWN –Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel announced Wednesday he will step down effective Feb. 1, 2023.

In a letter sent to YSU staff Wednesday, Tressel stated, “It is with an abundance of gratitude and thankfulness that Ellen and I plan to step aside as President and First Lady of our beloved YSU, effective February 1, 2023. It has been truly a blessing and labor of love to serve Youngstown State University in a number of capacities, and we will continue to do so, in whatever fashion that the YSU Board of Trustees sees fit.”

Tressel, 69, said nearly 60 years ago he landed a job to deliver newspapers for the Cleveland Plain Dealer seven mornings per week. He said this was appropriate training for a career in teaching, coaching and administration to follow, as he has spent the last 47 years in higher education positions, working seven days a week.

“I cannot thank my family enough for allowing my schedule, and the needs of our university, to take priority and center stage. It is now only fair to have Ellen, our wonderful children and grandchildren, extended family, friends, and former students set the schedule,” Tressel said.

Tressel said he is thankful for the students, faculty, staff, YSU Board of Trustees and YSU Foundation, as well as the entire Mahoning Valley, for their kindness as he has learned on the job.

“I am particularly proud of our dramatic rise in the graduation rate, numbers of graduates, fundraising dollars, and the physical transformation of our beautiful campus and city. It has been a blessing to serve alongside so many people that love and believe in the impact and importance of YSU,” he said.

Tressel said he plans to work seven days a week for the next seven months to assist with the transition and ensure that the university truly “Takes Charge of Our Future.”

“These are extremely challenging times in higher education and in our world as a whole; however, the opportunities are many, and together we will continue to make great things happen. Education is the key to our future, and I look forward to continuing our strong partnership in the educational and business communities. Our students and our future leaders are the keys to NE Ohio, the Buckeye State, and our great nation,” Tressel said.

Tressel was named YSU’s ninth president in 2014, receiving a three-year contract and then one-year extensions through June 2021. The most recent extension stipulated that starting July 1, 2022, Tressel’s contract as president would continue until terminated by either party with 180 days prior written notice.

Tressel said he feels much has been accomplished in seven years while noting there is more work to be done, and he looks forward to continuing to move the university ahead in various fronts.

The Tressels have been involved in extensive fundraising and philanthropy, including making a $1 million gift to establish the Jim and Ellen Tressel Student Work Opportunity Endowment Fund at YSU.

Under Tressel’s leadership, YSU enrollment increased for the first time in five years, graduation rates went up, the university held down tuition increases, expanded scholarship opportunities and increased both university and private housing options across campus, university officials have said.

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