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YSU Chair: We want Dunn as soon as possible

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Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:00 am

The chairman of Youngstown State University’s board of trustees says the board wants Murray State University President Dr. Randy Dunn to start his new job on the Youngstown, Ohio campus as soon as possible.

On Friday, the YSU trustees voted 8-0 to authorize board Chair Sudershan Garg and Vice Chair John Jakubek to negotiate and execute an employment contract with Dunn to start as YSU’s next president. In an emailed statement Monday, Dunn said he and his wife, Dr. Ronda Dunn, hoped to get started at YSU in about two months.

“Ronda and I are excited about getting started there, which will probably be in mid-July,” Dunn said. “YSU is about 14,000 students and the profile of the university is very similar to Murray State, although its mission is urban-focused. The communities are certainly different, with the Youngstown and Mahoning Valley region having a population of about 600,000 and situated right in the middle of a growing tech corridor between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.  However, we will miss Murray a great deal and we appreciate the tremendous support we have received from this community while here.”

On the same day YSU announced its selection, the MSU Board of Regents met for its quarterly meeting and reaffirmed its 7-4 vote to not renew Dunn’s contract, which is set to expire June 30, 2014. MSU Board Chairman Dr. Constantine W. Curris requested the re-vote to “clear the air” after Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway had issued an opinion stating that a March 14 social gathering with a quorum of the board  had violated the Open Meetings Act. Before Friday’s vote, Curris related what he could recall of the discussions that took place at that gathering, and other board members who were present concurred. The board also voted to form a presidential search team, but a timeline for hiring MSU’s next president has not been set.

The YSU board voted to offer the position to Dunn after a five-month national search, according to the YSU website. Three finalists for the position visited campus in the last two weeks, and the board met in closed, executive session Friday to discuss the candidates before publicly voting to offer Dunn the position. The appointment will not be final until contract terms are reached, but Dunn would replace Cynthia E. Anderson, who is retiring June 30 after three years as president and 34 years with the university.

In a telephone interview with the Ledger & Times Monday, Garg said the board is eager for Dunn to get started. He said the length of time for the contract negotiations will depend on the attorneys of both parties, but he hoped it could be negotiated within the next two weeks.

“The time frame has to be worked between the board and him (Dunn) and it will all depend on his convenience of when he can start easily, but we would like him to start as soon as he can,” he said.

Garg said the board and campus community were very impressed with Dunn when they met him.

“He’s a very, very vibrant individual,” he said. “We were very impressed with him when we interviewed in Pittsburgh, and when he visited the campus for two days, he and his wife both, I think they impressed the whole faculty community and the board.

“We had a tough choice. We had three candidates. All were very good, but he was the best of the three. And I told my board that Kentucky’s loss is Ohio’s gain, Murray’s loss is Youngstown’s gain and Murray State University’s loss is YSU’s gain.”

Garg said the YSU board was not at all troubled by the recent difficulties Dunn had experienced with MSU’s board.

“I don’t know what transpired between him and the board, but he was very open with us and he told us that there were some differences of opinion between him and the chairman of the board,” he said. “What the board did there, this is their headache and we are happy with him here.”

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