April 18, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
Curry says SRU ‘in very, very good’ shape
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Charles Curry, acting president of Slippery Rock University, delivered his first “State of the University” address Tuesday before a full auditorium of faculty and staff saying, “I am able to report to you today that the state of the University is very, very good thanks to the people in this room and across campus, who everyday do all they can to make Slippery Rock University an exceptional living and learning environment.”
Curry, who is serving as acting president as well as vice president for finance and administrative affairs, opened his eight-minute prepared address saying, “At this time of year, it is customary for the president to share with the campus community and other stakeholders a snapshot on the State of the University – the intent being to provide a look at where we are and to rally us around those things that we need to do that will help us continue our success.”
“Slippery Rock University has always paid close attention to educational, financial and operational metrics, and because of that, we have been able to predict, plan and address challenges,” he said.
“Clearly, we have much to celebrate,” Curry said in using his address to highlight a number of successes and accomplishments, including, recent honors to three student teams that competed in the 2012 Mathematical Modeling Contest against 3,697 teams from across the nation and around the globe to bring home Meritorious, Honorable Mention and Successful Participant awards.
“The Meritorious designation is only awarded to the top 11percent of the competitors. Other winners included Peking University in China, Harvey Mudd College and Duke University,” he said.
“For the second consecutive year, SRU was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Annually our students and staff contribute thousands of hours of volunteer service both nationally and internationally,” Curry said.
He recognized Kelly Smith, a junior computer science major, who took first place in the 2012 International Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education Undergraduate Research Competition sponsored by Microsoft and noted that University Public Relations scored three national higher education marketing awards besting agencies from across the country in recent competition.
Curry said he was proud that the University had again been named one of the top 100 Regional Universities in the North – and a top 30 public university in the region – by U.S. News & World Report and that Princeton Review had named SRU one of the “Best Colleges and Universities in the Northeast.” “We were again named a ‘Military Friendly’ university by G.I. Jobs magazine,” he said.
He thanked the faculty and staff for the successful launch of SRU’s first Winter Session.
“Faculty and staff gave the University the high grades necessary to propel it onto the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Top Workplace” list for the first time and The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Best Places to Work For,” list for the third consecutive year,” he said.
Among other accomplishments Curry pointed to creation of a mobile website and official Facebook page, adding, “So please ‘like us’.”
The acting president said, “Construction activity continued on a blistering pace; Weisenfluh was completely renovated and has opened as an exciting new dining venue, and I hope you get a chance to dine there. And, of course, one of my favorites, we installed a baghouse to eliminate emissions from the heating plant - a very exciting project. Patterson Hall is scheduled to be complete this fall and will be an exciting addition to our exercise science activities. The Smith Student Center will open this summer, and we are awaiting word from Harrisburg as to when we can begin breaking ground on our Miller Auditorium renovation.”
Curry shared two items that were breaking news. “We just learned Diane Galbraith, assistant professor in the School of Business, has just been named a regional recipient of the 2012 Teaching Excellence Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and is now a candidate for the international award,” he said.
“And today, The Princeton Review will announce that Slippery Rock University is included among the 322 Green Colleges in the country.”
He said two of the biggest challenges facing the University in coming months are the budget and the continued declined in the number of traditional-aged students graduating from high school.
“I know each of the colleges has a plan to sustain and grow enrollment, and I’m confident we’ll achieve our goals,” he said. “The budget picture remains in flux. Leadership in both the house and senate have indicated they will work to reduce the governor’s proposed 20 percent cut – but everything is still up for grabs. It is very important that each of us continues to advocate and lobby to maintain our state support.”
Curry then thanked the audience for its interest and participation in the presidential search. “You did a fine job. I believe we have an outstanding president-designee in Dr. Cheryl Norton,” he said, adding with humor, “Perhaps more than anyone in the room, I look forward to her June 4 arrival.”
“As we transition to new leadership the best thing we can do to help insure our continued success, is to do the thing we do best – provide a Slippery Rock education to all of our students. Thank you very, very much,” Curry said.
Curry joined the University administration in 1986.
The program included presentation of faculty service awards in a number of categories and remarks from Jace Condravy, professor of English and retiring president of the Association of Pennsylvania State, College and University Faculty.
William Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs, introduced Curry and Condravy.
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.