YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University Board of Trustees named Dr. Helen Lafferty as interim president last week. On Monday, she spoke with members of local media.
Lafferty is a Youngstown native who attended Ursuline High School before earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from YSU.
“I was born and raised on Fairgreen Avenue, so I consider myself a homegrown person, if you will,” she said in a web press conference.
She will be leaving her position at Philadelphia’s Villanova University after working there for 42 years. She’ll be working with current YSU President Jim Tressel during her transition.
“I asked him, ‘Do you mind if I call you?’ and he said, ‘No, call me every day if you want to.’ I intend to take him up on that,” Lafferty said.
Lafferty has taken a sabbatical from Villanova and will remain at YSU until a permanent president is hired.
While she’s here, she has some goals for the university.
“I’m not here just to keep the lights on. I’m here to do whatever it is in my capacity to do to advance Youngstown State University and all of her people,” Lafferty said.
In the past, YSU has announced a number of programs it could cut, which has caused some backlash.
Lafferty said she understands the process is something she’ll have to be involved in, adding that many universities and college are dealing with the same issues.
“I really expect to use the first two months of my interim presidency listening and learning,” Lafferty said.