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April 19, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

SRU greening leader comes home

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Robert Kobet, a 1993 Slippery Rock University graduate and award-winning green architect, is coming home for the University's "Earth Days 2013" program.

Kobet will present a keynote lecture "Changing Cultures and Communities Through Integrated Sustainability Education" at 12:30 p.m., April 25, in 311 Smith Student Center.

Kobet is chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based Kobet Collaborative, a multi-disciplined architecture-consulting firm. In a career spanning more than 34 years, Kobet has worked in 12 countries on five continents creating innovative places to live, work and learn.

Kobet said he likes SRU's sustainability progress.

"I am pleased President Norton has recognized the importance of sustainability in the context of higher education," Kobet said. "My Earth Days address will focus on how SRU could take things to the next level," he said. "Possible initiatives include integrating sustainability across the curriculum, repurposing the Macoskey Center to serve a more global perspective on sustainability and position SRU in the forefront of the green school movement by fostering SRU and K-12 relationships across the commonwealth."

Kobet has a pioneering connection to sustainability at SRU. He created the design and construction plan for the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research as a master's degree thesis for his degree in sustainable systems. He was the original architect of record and taught in SRU's MS3 program from 1990-1994.

Kobet wrote the curriculum for the build environment track of the MS3. His work received the first Three Rivers Award for Environmental Education in 1997.

He is the principle author of the "Pennsylvania Guidelines for Creating High Performance Green Buildings" and the "Guidelines for Sustainable Development."

Kobet said he knew the late Robert Macoskey, an SRU philosophy professor who conceived the idea of a Macoskey Center in the early 1980s.

"Bob walked into our office and said he had an idea that was literally proposed as, 'I can't pay you and it is going to take a lot of time. But you will learn a lot, and I know you will have fun,'" Kobet said. "Little did I know that 10 years later, with the help of countless volunteers, we would have the country's first master's of science in sustainable systems at SRU."

Kobet recalled Macoskey, who died in 1990, as a man of vision, humor and commitment to sustainability before it became popular.

"He was a gentle giant who was quick to deflect credit for his contributions to others," Kobet said. "He would praise in public and gently criticize, only to better guide, in private. I don't think very many people understand the enormous effort Bob and his family and friends put into the MS3 program."

Self employed since 1979, Kobet's impact on the build environment spans several decades over a wide area of influence. His green building and sustainable community development projects around the world range from small non-profit endeavors to multi-million dollar developments.

"To me, sustainability is the pursuit of energy, material and resource-efficient buildings, optimized for the health and productivity of buildings occupants that are designed, constructed operated and maintained to the extent possible within the carrying capacity of the planet," he said.

Kobet has won many awards. He was named Pittsburgh's Green Champion in 2005 by the Green Building Alliance and received the Governor's Energy Award in 2000.

SRU's program continues through April 27, with more than 20 events scheduled.

A complete calendar of events and description of the program activities may be found at; all events are free and open to the public.

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.