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May 2, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Gala goes 'Through the Looking Glass'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University continues its 125th anniversary with a scholarship gala inviting guests to step "Through the Looking Glass" May 31 in the Smith Student Center.

Sponsored by the Slippery Rock University Foundation Inc., the bi-annual event is expected to generate a minimum of $125,000 in scholarship aid for SRU students as part of the 125th Annivesary-year celebration.

"Our scholarship gala continues to grow, and this year we have a number of events planned to make the evening fun for all participants," said Deborah Baker, director of special events and chair of the planning committee. "They include a chance to buy a specially-made 'Mad Hatter Top Hat.' Our students in the 'Advanced Costume Crafts' course created 10 'Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass-themed' top hats using traditional millinery methods and materials. They range from the 'Mad Funny Hatter' hat to 'Wishful Thinking' in design. Funds raised by the hat sale will benefit theatre department scholarships."

Some 60 items will be offered in a past-present-future silent auction, including antique items, gift cards from a variety of businesses and art pieces from SRU art faculty and students.

"We are also offering 'Curiouser and Curiouser' mystery envelopes. Participants can purchase a sealed envelope for $20 with the gift inside guaranteed to be worth at least $20. There will also be tickets to win a money and lottery tree. Robert Watson, SRU interim vice president for student affairs and author of "Slippery Rock University: The Legend Behind the Name," will autograph copies of his special 125th anniversary edition that will be available at the gala."

The SRU dance department will offer a program titled "Dance Through the Ages," highlighting social dances popular during SRU's 125-year history.

"Of course, food is always a big draw at our galas, and this year is no exception. We have stayed with the theme and there will be a Tea Party, a Mad Hatter's Grill Station, and an Eat Me, Drink Me, Take Me Station. There is a Curious Sauté Station and a Garden of Earthly Delights Desserts for our guest," she said.

Among the food items will be: candied prosciutto and arugula salad with nectarine glaze melted brie bruschetta with Thai cashew drizzle and fennel green olive and artichoke tapenade on mini focaccia roll; grilled chicken skewer with caramelized black bean cilantro butter; black tea smoked duck with caramelized quince, parsley, pea and green tea risotto cakes with fire roasted pepper sauce; stuffed chicken meatballs with mango ginger tea salsa; jasmine tea poached peaches over sour cream shortbread brûlée style; wild rabbit sausage sliders; roasted pork tenderloin with pineapple bacon glaze; chipotle rubbed brisket atop a cornbread waffle with agave cream; smoked trout with pickled jalapenos and micro-cilantro salad; black olive and roasted tomato bruschetta; roasted turnip puree with molasses glazed bacon, and shooter trios of cool yellow tomato gazpacho, watermelon herb with lime and micro-basil, or roasted beet topped with radish salsa.

There will also be gouda mac and cheese infused with smoked shrimp, ricotta gnocchi with spinach lemon basil, pesto micro-vegetable salad with mint vinaigrette, and toasted bread salad with red chimichurri.

The dessert station will offer mocha chocolate pasta saute with Frangelico cream sauce and toasted hazelnuts, edible tea cups with cheesecake fillings, cranberry lime cordial creme brûlée, macaroons, and Meyer lemons with blueberry creme filling, raspberry with rhubarb filling, vanilla crisps with pomegranate filling, ginger crisps with grapefruit filling and a variety of scones.

DJ Michael Glorioso, a 2003 SRU communication and safety and environmental management graduate, will provide music for the evening. and photos taken by Sharp Image Studios will be available.

The event planning committee includes: Scott Albert, assistant vice president for facilities and planning; Nora Ambrosio, professor of dance; Joe Balaban, resident director for AVI Food Systems; Michael Boone, University technical director; Chris Cole, Smith Student Center director; Barbara Ender, vice president for University Advancement; Jodi Hensel, executive staff assistant in University Advancement; Judy Hughes, community liason; Nick McIntire, constituent services and database assurance manager; Doug McMullen, chair of the SRU Foundation Inc.; Susan Parsons, director of exploratory studies program and assistant professor in Academic Services; Deb Pincek, assistant to the vice president for student affairs; Lisa Rogers, director of retail operations for AVI Food Systems; Samantha Swift, director of development for the SRU Foundation; and Dan Tokarek, executive chief with AVI Food Systems.

Tickets, $125, to celebrate the 125th anniversary, are available by calling 724.738.2004.

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.