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YSU receives $5M donation, matching largest in university’s 113-year history

The new building housing the Excellence Training Center will now be known as Kohli Hall.
YSU Excellence Training Center1 07262021
The new building housing the Excellence Training Center at Youngstown State University will now be known as Kohli Hall. (Photo by Robert K. Yosay | Mahoning Matters)

YOUNGSTOWN — The new building housing the Excellence Training Center on the campus of Youngstown State University is being named in honor of Dr. Chander M. Kohli, a local neurosurgeon and former chair of the YSU Board of Trustees, and his wife, Karen, in recognition of their $5 million in donations to the YSU “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign.

The gift total matches the largest donation in YSU’s 113-year history.

“Chander and Karen are loyal, generous supporters of the YSU community, giving of their time and talents, as well as their treasure,” YSU President Jim Tressel said in a news release. “This historic gift and the naming of the building that houses our new Excellence Training Center ensures that the Kohlis’ legacy will live forever. On behalf of everyone on campus, we give our deepest thanks.”

The new $12 million, 54,000-square-foot building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Commerce Streets on the campus’ south side will now be known as Kohli Hall.

“We strongly believe that YSU represents the Mahoning Valley’s best hope for the future, and we are honored to have our names associated with a facility that reflects the university’s visionary leadership as we enter the third decade of the 21st century,” said Chander Kohli, a member of the board of trustees at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.

The gift will provide ongoing annual support for the Excellence Training Center, including integration and upgrades of technology; purchase and maintenance of equipment; expansion, renovation and maintenance of the building; and funding for ETC program initiatives.

It also will help fund 19 Classrooms of the Future throughout the campus in memory of the Kohlis’ late son, Aneal Mohan Kohli. Two of the classrooms are in Kohli Hall.

“We are honored to have our son’s memory live on in these high-tech classrooms,” Karen Kohli said.

The YSU Excellence Training Center is the centerpiece of the Mahoning Valley region’s continued efforts to create a workforce development ecosystem to ensure skilled workers are available to meet the region’s growing advanced manufacturing needs, from automation, robotics and industrial maintenance to 3-D additive manufacturing.

The $125 million “We See Tomorrow” campaign, led by the YSU Foundation, is the largest in YSU’s history. For more information, visit

A native of India, Chander Kohli graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and served more than three years in the armed forces of India as a general duty medical officer. He came to the United States in 1966. He did his rotating internship and one-year surgical residency at the Elyria Memorial Hospital, Elyria, Ohio, and served neurosurgical residencies at the University Hospital, Edmonton, Canada, and Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh. He started his own private neurosurgical practice in Youngstown in 1972. Karen Kohli practiced as a nurse for several years.

The Kohlis were named YSU Friends of the University in 2018.

Chander Kohli has served as president of the Mahoning County Medical Society, clinical professor of neurosurgery at NEOMED, president of the Medical Staff Clinical Executive Committee at St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center and is the founding president of the American Association of South Asian Neurosurgeons. He also has served on the boards at Sky Bank, Humility of Mary Health Services, St. Elizabeth Foundation and the International Institute.

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