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March 7, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU plans 'An Evening of the Arts'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - It will be theatre, music, dance performances and art when Slippery Rock University hosts "An Evening of the Arts" March 28 to celebrate its yearlong 125th anniversary.

The University, founded as Slippery Rock State Normal School, opened its door to the first class March 26, 1889. Since then the institution of higher education has grown to offer more than 60 majors in four colleges. Its enrollment has grown from 168 students that first semester to more than 8,300 students today, including nearly 75 international students.

"This evening of arts is a salute to all of the programs available in the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts," said Thom Cobb, associate professor of dance and program organizer. "There will be a digitally projected art exhibition for viewing during the 6:15 p.m. reception and then productions featuring faculty and students from the dance, music and theatre departments."

"The show certainly focuses on our outstanding faculty and students, and I believe will give the audience a show they will long remember in helping to mark our 125-year history," Cobb said.

Nanette Solomon, professor of music who is retiring at the end of spring semester after 37 years of service, will be featured as guest pianist representing the music department.

Solomon will offer "Valse Brillante," by Mana-Zucca, and "Fugato-Humoresque on the Theme of Dixie" along with "Jabberwocky."

Colleen Gray, associate professor of music and a soprano, will be accompanied by Solomon for songs by Lee Hoiby.

Christopher Scott, an SRU assistant professor of music and a baritone, will join Gray and Solomon for "Dreaming" by Lori Laithman.

"Get Happy" is the theme of a dance presentation featuring SRU students by guest chorographer Chris Saunders. "Biana," with music by Barbatugues and choreographed by James Washington, a faculty member at Mercyhurst University, will be presented along with "Pilanderas," which is being re-staged by Melissa Teodoro, assistant professor of dance, based on the choreography of Luis Fernando Touchon.

Teodoro's presentation is based on a three-part research project that involved the participation of dance majors who traveled to Colombia with her in 2012.

Excerpts from the theater department's current production of "The Robber Bridegroom" musical will be presented along with the opening monologue from Shakespeare's "Richard III." An excerpt from, "Electra," a production that will be performed in Scotland this summer.

Jon Schumway, professor of art, will offer a digital media presentation as part of the program, and faculty and student artworks will be displayed.

Cobb, who is retiring in May, and Gordon Phetteplace, associate professor of theatre, are co-directing the event.

SRU President Cheryl Norton will offer remarks to open the program.

SRU is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year. Two celebrations are planned for March 26 as a salute to the opening of classes at what was then Slippery Rock State Normal School.

The opening Founder's Day event, including a historical presentation, is at 10 a.m. in the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center, followed by a "Birthday Bash" hosted by the SRU Green and White Society in the Smith Student Center Fireplace Lounge. A group photo in the center is planned for 1:25 p.m., with all participants urged to wear SRU green and white.

The overall anniversary celebration is being led by a 25-member steering committee.

Wilma Cavill, assistant professor of safety management, and Robert Watson, interim vice president for student affairs, are honorary co-chairs.

Laurel Dagnon, director of programming for SRU's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, George Mihalik, professor of safety management and head football coach, and Judy Silva, library professor, are tri-chairs of the celebration planning committee.

SRU's homepage includes a 125 website available at: The site includes a calendar of events, historical timeline and a toolkit for logos and related materials.

The year's Academic Honors Convocation and both spring and fall semester commencements will focus attention on the 125th anniversary.

Kaleidoscope, the University's three-week, on-campus arts festival that opens April 15, will help mark the anniversary with a variety of art and entertainment programs that are open to the campus and region.

The "SRU Gala," which raises scholarship support from faculty, staff, alumni and friends, has been themed "Through the Looking Glass" and will be May 31.

A "Founders Picnic" is being organized for June 21 as a community event honoring the descendants of the original founders of the Slippery Rock State Normal School.

Fall semester will see the SRU football team take on Mercyhurst University at the University of Michigan football stadium. The event will mark the longstanding connection with the Michigan school and the 35th anniversary of SRU's first appearance in "The Big House," as the U of M stadium is known. During the football season, Michigan traditionally announces SRU footballs scores at its home games bringing cheers from Michigan fans that support The Rock.

Additional events are being planned for fall to commemorate the founding.

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.

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.