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May 07, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

President announces student affairs transition plan; Watson, interim VP

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Cheryl Norton, Slippery Rock University president, Tuesday announced Robert Watson, vice president emeritus at SRU, would serve as the interim vice president for student affairs following the retirement of Constance Foley. Watson is a 1970 SRU education graduate with long family ties to the University.

Watson retired in 2006 after 34 years of service to the University, the last five as vice president for student life.

Watson is the author of "Slippery Rock University The Legend Behind the Name." which recounts the University's history, including its formation as Slippery Rock State Normal School, led, in part, by his forefathers, including great-grandfather John N. Watson. The original paperback volume of the University's history from its founding to 1981 was written as his doctoral dissertation. The book was updated as a hardcover book in 2011.

Watson, a longtime member of the SRU Alumni Association board of directors received the association's "Outstanding Alumnus of the Year" award in 1983 and, in 1991, was named recipient of the "Outstanding State System of Higher Education University Award" by the Pennsylvania Council of Alumni Associations.

He earned his master's degree in education at Johns Hopkins University and completed his doctorate of philosophy degree at the University of Pittsburgh. He joined the SRU staff in the Registrar's Office in what was then Slippery Rock State College.

In addition to his SRU work, he served from 1995 to 2003 as a member of the Slippery Rock Area School District board of education.

"The University is very fortunate to have a student affairs professional of Dr. Watson's ability who can step in and provide leadership during this transitional period. Bob is clearly no stranger to SRU or the division, and he brings a depth of knowledge and caring that will be critical as we move forward," Norton said.

"We are looking to the summer as a time of assessment to help us build an even stronger student affairs program. We have a good leadership team in place, so I'm expecting great initiatives from Dr. Watson and the staff," Norton said.

A national search for a vice president for student affairs will begin immediately. During the transition, Paul Lueken, director of athletics, will report to the president. Michael Simmons, University police chief, will report to Philip Way, provost and vice president for academic affairs. The assistant vice presidents for student services and student development, John Bonando and Paula Olivero, and Deb Pincek, assistant to the vice president for student life administration, will report to Watson.

Watson's appointment is effective June 3 and runs though December 2013.

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.