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June 15, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU trustees welcome new president      

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University trustees welcomed Cheryl Norton as the 16th president of the University and the first woman to lead the higher education institution at today’s quarterly meeting. Norton assumed the post June. 4.

           “It is certainly a pleasure to welcome you to campus. I know you will work to continue to build our excellence, and I look forward to working with you,” said Joshua Young, outgoing council chair.

           “I certainly want to welcome Dr. Norton and wish her well,” said Dennis Murray, an SRU trustee from Hollidaysburg. “I also want to thank Dr. [Charles] Curry for filling in so well as acting president as we awaited Dr. Norton’s arrival.”

           “I ditto those comments and raise you one,” said John Hicks, a council member from Slippery Rock.

           Norton thanked the trustees for their support and leadership during the transition, saying,  “It has been an exciting 10 days. I thank you all for your leadership, and I especially want to thank Josh [Young] for his support and for always being available by phone during the transition,” she said.

           Norton, who visited with trustees at the April meeting, formerly took over the presidency from acting President Charles Curry who has returned to his position as vice president for finance and administration.

Norton comes to SRU from Southern Connecticut State University, where as president she oversaw a $260 million construction program that transformed the campus. She has also served as provost at Metropolitan State College of Denver. The Cleveland native is a Denison University graduate who then earned her master’s degree and doctorate in applied physiology from Columbia University.

           In formal action, the trustees elected Eric Holmes, of Pittsburgh, as chair; John Hicks, of Slippery Rock, as vice chair; and Robert Marcus, of Harrisburg, as secretary for the coming year.

           Holmes, a Pittsburgh native and 1993 SRU graduate, has served Pittsburgh as a law enforcement officer for 15 years, currently in the rank of sergeant. He also is a consultant for higher education institutions.

           His awards and commendations to promote public safety are numerous, and he has presented topics and lectures on risk management to various schools, colleges and businesses both locally and nationally.

           In the law enforcement, public safety and higher educations sectors, Holmes has been cited for building relationships, establishing partnerships, alliances and crafting strong community connections.          

           In 1993, he was appointed to the White House Intern Program by the Clinton administration.

           He has continued to give back to the University having served as president of the SRU Alumni Association. In 2005, he received the SRU Pacesetters Award as the first African-American male to lead the organization. In 2006, he presented his “How to Restart Your Alumni Board” program at a national conference where he received an Award of Excellence.                   

           Former Gov. Ed Rendell appointed Holmes to the SRU council in 2009. He has served as council vice chair and has chaired the council’s university advancement and governance committees. Holmes chaired the SRU presidential search committee, which selected Norton.

           The Eric L. Holmes Criminal Justice Scholarship was established at SRU in 2008.

           He is a member of a number of professional and volunteer activities, including Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the Young Democrats, Association of Governing Boards, Boy Scouts of America, Rights of Passage 2010, Pittsburgh Regional Champions, Leadership Pittsburgh LDI XVIII and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh board of directors.

Hicks, who attended Brandeis University, John Carroll University, Kent State University and Penn State University, retired from SRU in 2002 following nearly 30 years service. He is president of the Pennsylvania Association of Council of Trustees.

Marcus, a leader in education and business, retired in 1994 after 34 years with the Harrisburg School District. He is president of Marcus Bonding, a family business. He funds two SRU scholarships for minority students from Harrisburg.

Trustees praised the outgoing chairman for his leadership and efforts to raise awareness of the council’s work on behalf of the University. They concluded the session with a standing ovation for Young.

“I thank all of you for your support and for allowing me to serve as chair during the past two years. I want to thank Eric Holmes, incoming chair, for chairing the search committee that found Dr. Norton, and I want to thank Tina Moser, assistant to the president and our administrative secretary, and Kelly Rensel, administrative assistant in the President’s Office, for their behind-the-scenes support of the council,” Young said before turning over the gavel.

Trustees presented resolutions honoring Brandon Maharaj, an SRU exercise science student, who served as a student trustee on the council, and Cynthia Dillon, who retires June 29 after 25 years of service to SRU.

As a student, Maharaj has been involved with the Green and White Society, served as a peer mentor for the Freshman Leader Scholar program and as an active member of the campus Compass Leadership program. He was named to the board in 2010.

“We applaud his accomplishments and know his ROCK Solid education has prepared him well for an exciting and successful future,” the resolution stated.

Dillon was cited for developing “a spirit of collaboration with faculty and staff through the many roles she held on campus, including assessment liaison to the assessment core committee, working with the University curriculum committee, developing and maintaining the academic affairs web pages and D2L site and service as assistant to the provost.” She was also honored for her work on SRU’s successful Middle States Accreditation process.

In routine action, council approved the contracts, fixed assets, and service and supply purchase orders reports as submitted. Minutes for the April 27 meeting were also approved.

Trustees were informed of faculty and staff hirings and the retirements of three faculty and one support staff employee.

Retirements announced were: Katherine Hardesty, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice (11 years), who will retire in August; and Maribeth Knaub, associate professor of music (41 years),  and Jessica Marshall, assistant professor in Bailey Library (20 years), who both retire this month. Robert Grabbe, a semi-skilled laborer in facilities and planning (21 years), retires June 29.

Srinivasa Mani, professor of professional studies (41 years), who retired in 2011, was granted professor emeritus status.

Council’s next meetings are scheduled for Sept. 27-28.

The following is a photo of Eric Holmes, SRU Counsel of Trustees chair.

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.