YSU grad awards $1 million gift to university

The money will used to fund a scholarship and initiatives to help students succeed

Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata gives YSU a $1 million gift.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The city of Youngstown and Youngstown State University gave Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata more that just an education. She said her time in the Valley made her a well-rounded person, instilling family values and a hard work ethic.

Living now in Cleveland, her ties to the area are apparent in her work as vice chairman of the YSU Foundation, and now, through a $1 million gift she presented to university officials on Monday.

Linsalata grew up on Youngstown’s west side and graduated from Chaney High School. She later earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from YSU.

The $1 million gift will be used to help fund initiatives to student success and fund a scholarship Linsalata set up in 2003 through the YSU Foundation.

Youngstown State graduate Ashley Fox received her degree in 2009 with the help of the scholarship provided by Linsalata. She said the money helped her pay for textbooks. Fox is just one of 30 students in the past 13 years who received money from the fund. And, with the this latest gift, the program is expanding.

“In short, my gift today will support students with tuition from their first day at Youngstown State University and then with guidance through graduation and their first day of their first job,” Linsalata said. “It will be one-stop shopping.”

Following a student through admission to graduation is something President Jim Tressel is tracking. Under the Kasich Administration, the formula for higher education funding has changed from using enrollment figures to graduation rates. But Tressel predicts simply getting a degree won’t be enough.

“That placement rank, mark my words, will be the next challenge that is given to public universities,” Tressel said.

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