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Feb. 21, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU hosts fourth annual ‘Diversity, Inclusion Series’

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. –Ann Cody, director of policy and global outreach for BlazeSports America and 40-for-40 Title IX Award Recipient with the Women’s Sports Foundation, will be the keynote speaker when Slippery Rock University launches its three-day Diversity and Inclusion Series for 2013.

The free March 4-6 program in the Smith Student Center focuses on Title IX and will include presentation of the University’s inaugural Title IX Champion Award.

Additional keynotes will be delivered by Donna Lopiano, former chief executive officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and Wendy Murphy, a national expert on the legal and cultural response to sexual violence.

“This is the fourth year we have offered the diversity and inclusion program and, I believe there is an even deeper level of richness to it. The series has always been developed, created and implemented by our own campus community of staff, students and faculty. This year, we’ve been able to weave in our alumni as well, tapping into their expertise and passion,” said Jessamine Montero Michaels, senior officer for diversity and inclusion, special assistant to the president and program organizer.

The 2013 program will focus on “Title IX Today and Tomorrow.” Title IX is regarded as landmark legislation requiring schools and colleges receiving federal money in any education program or activity to provide the same opportunities for females as they provide for males. For many, the law put funding and opportunities for men and women’s sports on equal footing. However, Title IX further put equal funding for women in educational opportunities, which the series also highlights. The program’s focus on “today and tomorrow” honors SRU alumni and others that paved and are still paving the way for gender equity at Slippery Rock University.

Carol Matteson, a 1968 SRU physical education graduate and former president of Mount Ida College will receive the University’s inaugural Title IX Champion Award at the 6:30 p.m., March 4,Title IX Champion Awards Dinner hosted in the Smith Student Center.

Matteson was SRU’s December 2007 commencement speaker. She earned her master's degree at the University of Oregon and her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a former SRU physical education faculty member, assistant to the president and director of the University's Continuing Education and Evening College. A longtime Title IX supporter, Matteson is a nationally recognized leader and champion for the advancement of higher education.

In 1991, Matteson was named a "Distinguished Educator" in Pennsylvania and in 1999 received Slippery Rock University's Outstanding Alumni Award. She helped launch SRU's Claire R. Schmieler Leadership Institute for Professional Women during which she shared her own experiences in accepting challenges that allowed her to grow professionally. She also made a substantial financial gift to the program.

In 1999, she created the Carol Matteson Women's Basketball and Track and Field Scholarship at SRU. She also established the Katherine M. Moore Memorial Fund in 1989 to honor Moore, a 1975 SRU graduate and coordinator in SRU's McLachlan Student Health Center.

Prior to being named Mount Ida College's fifth president, Matteson served in executive and faculty positions at several colleges and universities in the U.S. and Australia.

Under her leadership, Mount Ida College developed and implemented an innovative "All-College Curriculum" blending professional preparation with the liberal arts. In addition, the college implemented a new vision and corresponding strategic plan resulting in the expansion of bachelor degree offerings, an increase in student enrollment and a new era of financial stability.

Matteson has served as executive vice president/provost and a tenured professor of management at Rowan University. She also served as vice president for academic affairs at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where she was dean of its College of Business. She served as a faculty member at Sturt College of Advanced Education in South Australia and at the University of Maine at Augusta.

When she retired from Mount Ida in 2010, the trustees honored her by creating a scholarship fund for student leadership in her name. The scholarship supports and honors students with demonstrated financial need that have exhibited leadership skills in the classroom and the campus community.

The newly created SRU award, which is to be presented annually, recognizes and honors an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of gender equity. The recipient of the award must have demonstrated sustained accomplishments in one or more of the following areas: Access and Opportunity: Broadening access and opportunity for women in higher education; Achievement: Contributing to the achievement of women in athletics, the public or private sector, or service to the community; Equity: Contributing to the achievement of gender equity at any level of the academic community; and Leadership: Providing leadership on issues related to gender equity.

The diversity/inclusion program is designed to educate SRU’s community of students, staff, faculty and alumni. It will offer some 20 separate workshops. Nearly two-dozen individuals at SRU will serve as presenters, including SRU President Cheryl Norton, who will also provide the opening welcome.

A complete schedule is available at: 2013 schedule%5B1%5D.pdf.

In addition to the keynote speakers, external presenters include: Sheryl Smith, a 1974 SRU physical education graduate and former dean of students and ombudsman at Kent State University; Jody Brylinsky, a 1979 SRU master of physical education/health education graduate and now coordinator and faculty adviser for the master of arts degree in coaching sport performance at Western Michigan University; Sumana Misra-Zets, director of college and community diversity initiatives and Title IX coordinator at the Community College of Allegheny County; and Harlan Pruden, assistant director of special projects at the Empire State Development Corp., and Leadership North East Two Spirit Society.

“Overall the program is designed to educate and engage the campus community with and for each other,” Montero Michaels said.

Cody’s keynote address is titled “Title IX and the Paralympic Movement.” She has been a Washington veteran and Paralympic sport expert for more than two decades, serving in various capacities, including federal affairs, Paralympic Games management and as an athlete. Her work on behalf of BlazeSports America and the disability sport movement has significantly increased awareness in Congress and the Executive Branch of the benefits of sports and physical activity for people with disabilities and led to an increased federal commitment to these programs.

She serves on the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board and is the highest ranking American and highest ranking woman in the IPC worldwide. She is also a Paralympic Gold Medalist in Athletics and competed on three U.S. Paralympic Teams (basketball ’84, and athletics ’88 and ’92).

She is widely known and respected throughout the world as a leader in sport and human rights having led a number of national and international advocacy initiatives on sport with a focus on girls and women with disabilities. Through her leadership, the International Paralympic Committee established a policy on gender equity and several initiatives aimed at increasing participation by women in Paralympic sport and the movement.

Lopiano, described as “one of the top 10 most powerful women in sports” and one of the “100 most influential people in sports,” will lecture on Title IX and its significance personally and nationally. A softball player, Lopiano is a six-time national champion and a nine-time All-American. A three-time American Softball Association softball most-valuable player, she is a member of 13 halls of fame, including the National Sports Hall of Fame and the National Softball Hall of Fame. Lopiano most recently was awarded the Gerald R. Ford Award at the 2013 NCAA Convention. The Ford Award, named in recognition of Gerald Ford, the 38th U.S. president and a member of two national-championship football teams at the University of Michigan, honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics over the course of his or her career.

“There’s no better representative of equality and inclusion in sports than Donna Lopiano,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert, who presented her the Ford Award. “She has worked tirelessly on behalf of all student-athletes and has been a staunch supporter of the collegiate model,” he said. “While she tends to be labeled primarily as a women’s sports advocate for the positive difference she has made in that arena over time, Donna has, in fact, fought for equality and fairness for all student-athletes in her many roles. That is why she is so deserving of this award.”

Murphy, an adjunct professor at New England Law-Boston, will address “Rape through the Lens of Title IX: Violence Against Women and the Failure of Law Reform” in her keynote lecture. At New England Law, she teaches a seminar on sexual violence and directs two projects she developed in conjunction with the school's Center for Law and Social Responsibility. The "Sexual Violence Legal News" project is an internet-based alert service that distributes appellate cases of interest, with editorial comment, related to interpersonal violence. The "Judicial Language Project" uses socio-linguistic research to critique the language used in law and society to describe interpersonal violence.

She was a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School from 2002-2003 where her work focused on the status of women in their capacity as victims in the criminal justice system. She previously taught "Reproductive Rights and Technologies" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 2002 served as the Mary Joe Frug Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at New England Law-Boston where she has taught courses in sexual violence, reproductive rights and technologies and constitutional criminal procedure.

She is a trial and appellate attorney specializing in the representation of crime victims, women, children and victim service providers and is the founder and director of the Victim Advocacy & Research Group, a volunteer legal advocacy organization that has provided free legal services to victims and other third parties in the criminal justice system since 1992.

Murphy is a former child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor who sits on many boards and has served on the Massachusetts Governor's Crime Commission and Commission against Sexual and Domestic Violence. She has also consulted with Congress, worked with the White House Women's Office and has served on the faculty at the Poynter Institute in connection with programs related to language and the media's reporting on sexual violence, and provides consultation on constitutional law, legal policy and litigation strategy regarding victims', children’s and women's rights.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to attend any or all of the sessions during the three-day program depending on their individual schedules.

The workshops will include a wide range of topics, such as, “The Continuum of Compliance to Celebration: How we Move Institutionally,” “Challenges and Opportunities of Implementing ‘The Dear Colleague Letter,’” “Assessing your cultural competence/Healthy lifestyles for everyone,” “Tales of Title IX: Women of SRU Speak,” “Rape, Sex and the Law: What All Students Should Know,” “Two-Spirit People (LGBT): Then and Now – Sex, Gender and Sexuality in Historical and Contemporary Native America,” “Harnessing Music as a Powerful Magnet for Diversity and Inclusions,” “Stop Porn Culture,” and “Through the Looking Glass: A New View of Diversity.”

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.