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March 27, 2012

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Convocation honors SRU’s Ali-Zaidi Award nominee         


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Kaitlyn Deutsch, an athletic training major from State College, Pa., is Slippery Rock University’s nominee for the Syed Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence presented by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and will be among those honored April 1 at the University’s annual Academic Honors Convocation.

           The 2 p.m. ceremony in Morrow Field House will honor more than 3,000 students for their academic achievements. Recipients of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the President’s Award for Outstanding Service will also be recognized.

           Jessica Madden, an SRU elementary education and dance major from Frederick, Md., with a 4.0 grade point average, will be the student speaker.

           Each of the 14 member universities of the state system submits a nomination for the Ali-Zaidi award, which was established by Ali-Zaidi, a charter member of PASSHE’s board of governors and a strong advocate for the system’s universities. The award was inspired by Ali-Zaidi’s memories of his grandfather, Mir Wilayat Husain.

The award is based on outstanding academic performance in the academic major and in other areas of study; recognition of scholarship by members of the faculty; participation in extra/co-curricular activities as an undergraduate; and a nominee-submitted essay addressing how the University has prepared the student for the next step in life.

        Deutsch’s nomination came from the departments of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, and dance. Susan Hannam, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science, endorsed the nomination. 

Deutsch will graduate in May, earning a bachelor of science in athletic training and a minor in dance education and performance. She has a 3.88 cumulative grade point average and a 4.0 in her major.

Her nomination letters highlighted her leadership skills, numerous campus and community activities as well as her memberships in several national organizations.

She is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association, Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Slippery Rock University Athletic Training Association in which she serves as president.

Deutsch serves as a community assistant in a campus residence hall, a peer leader for FYRST Seminar and is executive director for SRU’s “Up ’til 2” fund-raising program for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

She has received numerous awards and accolades, including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Undergraduate Scholarship, the Meiping Cheng Memorial Scholarship, the Danny Thomas Leadership Scholarship, the Esther Lynne Geissel Memorial Scholarship and has been a Residence Life Academic All-Star.

In 2005, Deutsch was ranked in the top 25 of young professionals worldwide for the American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Scholarship. She has been on the SRU Deans’ List for the last four years.

Following graduation she plans to join the workforce in the allied healthcare field.

           Christine Walsh, assistant professor of elementary education and early childhood, will be presented the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. William Porter, auto mechanic supervisor in facilities and planning, is the President’s Award for Outstanding Service recipient. 

           The annual convocation, which launches the University’s Honors Month, will include recognition of Presidential Scholars, academic honor society members, last spring and fall’s dean’s list students, scholar athletes, community service learning scholars and academic scholarship recipients.

           The SRU Brass Quintet, directed by Stephen Hawk, professor of music, will provide music for the event.


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.