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January 24, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Project honors 80,000 former students

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - As part of the University's 125th anniversary celebration, volunteers will read the names of nearly 80,000 former students who helped make Slippery Rock University what it is today. "They Are The Rock," will run throughout 2014 with names being read weekdays at various locations across campus.

Approximately 450 names will be read each weekday beginning Jan. 30 when President Cheryl Norton launches the project as part of the celebration's kick off in the Smith Student Center. Norton will start the project by reading the names of the 11 members of the class of 1890.

SRU is celebrating its 125th anniversary throughout 2014. The institution was founded in 1889 by the local townspeople who wanted to open a normal school in their community. Their efforts resulted in the opening of Slippery Rock State Normal School, March 26, 1889. Since its early days, SRU grew to become a state college, a state teacher's college and ultimately a university, which is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Enrollment stands near the 8,350. Its mission has been to provide an affordable, quality education to all who enroll.

The year's celebration theme is "Celebrating Our Honored Traditions; Embracing Our Unlimited Potential." Banners marking the occasion have been installed across campus and in the local community. All campus activities during the year will be geared toward the 125 celebration.

The name-reading project is being lead by the 125 Student Engagement Committee and the SRU Green and White Society, who serve as ambassadors for the University.

"Whenever possible, we will incorporate the name reading project into various campus events related to the 125th celebration," said, society President Katelyn Hill, a special education and early childhood education major from Stow, Ohio.

The readings will utilize various locations on campus so as to involve more people and gain exposure for the project, Hill said. "We will also make use of campus guests when possible to allow others to participate in the project."

Hill said the project was a logical extension of SRU's tradition of reading the names of those killed in the 911 attacks on the U.S., done as an acknowledgement of their sacrifice. "We thought that it would be a way we could similarly honor our alumni," she said.

The names from historical lists were gathered from the University's archives and the Alumni Engagement Office's computer database.

In the institution's early days, the annual printed catalog often included students' names. Those catalogs, and similar historic documents, are serving as resources for the history project.

The yearlong project will utilize individuals, campus organizations and other volunteers to read names, she said. "The reading might coincide with a group or organization's special project like a founding or other campus program."

The final list will be SRU's December graduates who will be the newest - and final - group of alumni during the celebration year.

"We hope this project is a way to honor all of our alumni and the impact they have made on our campus. We are a University rich in tradition, and we want to honor the alumni in every way possible," Hill said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.