Youngstown State University, whose humble beginnings are rooted in a commercial law class staged at the Youngstown YMCA, is by all accounts one of the bargains of the state university system statewide if not regionally. It boasts premiere programs in many areas and doctoral degrees in educational leadership and physical therapy and, in cooperation with Rhodes University, mathematics. Engineering students may also pursue doctorates within an Ohio consortium just as a consortium also exists for a medical school.
In addition to technical and scientific studies, YSU is also known for its arts and humanities. The Dana School of Music, housed in Bliss Hall along historic Wick Avenue and designated an “All-Steinway” school, is one of the oldest non-conservatory schools of music in the country.
Also on Wick is the Arms Family Museum as well as YSU’s extensive Maag Library, named for the family that was among those that established what would become The Vindicator, a regional daily newspaper. Other nearby newspapers include The Catholic Exponent, Metro Monthly, Youngstown Business Journal, and the Buckeye Review; there are also numerous radio stations and several television affiliates.
YSU has also long enjoyed a lively theater department, English department and diverse media. Also near to the university are the historic Stambaugh Auditorium, home of Opera Western Reserve, the sponsor of several events a year, and Powers Auditorium, home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Other local theaters include the Youngstown Playhouse, established in 1924; the Victorian Players; and the Covelli Center, a venue for major concerts and sporting events.
The university is surrounded by numerous museums. Its own McDonough Museum of Art is located across Wick Avenue from the renowned Butler Institute of American Art. The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor is a few streets away as is the Tyler History Center. The Ford Nature Center and Lanterman’s Mill, both in Mill Creek MetroParks, are easily accessible on foot, bicycle or by car from the campus.
In addition to many beautiful, lavish churches, mosques and synagogues is the C.S. Lewis Institute on East Front Street, one of few such institutions worldwide.
Federal, state and local courthouses dominate Downtown Youngstown as does the ever expanding Youngstown Business Incubator, which has overhauled several downtown buildings and has an immense campus of its own now. The UBI, a global research firm that benchmarks 340 incubators in 64 countries, has named the YBI the best university affiliated incubator in the world.
Other major employers besides YBI in the city include major medical facilities Northside Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. St. Elizabeth also has a facility in Boardman Township.
The Youngstown city school system, recently overhauled, promotes its Rayen and Youngstown early colleges for high school students who earn college credit easily transferrable to the colleges and universities throughout the state. The Youngstown Early College is located in Fedor Hall on the YSU campus.
In addition to the suburbs which boast three movie theaters and a host of other recreational facilities, the four sides of Youngstown have distinct heritages dominated by ethnic groups. The East Side and its Brier Hill district has remnants of Youngstown’s steelmaking heritage as well as Italian and Slovakian food sales. The South Side is the major location of the multi-faceted Mill Creek MetroParks and was the home of Idora Amusement Park, 1898-1984.
The West Side has as its anchor numerous pizza shops including Wedgewood, Sunrise Pizza & Chicken and the original Cornersburg Pizza in Cornersburg—which has its own post office. The North Side is proud of its Wick Park and the relatively new North of Madison Avenue, which promotes restaurants and shops on the North Side of Youngstown.