SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - As the Democratic National Convention Committee meets this week re-nominating Barack Obama for a second term as president, Laurel Dagnon, director of programming in Slippery Rock University's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, has casting her vote in the affirmative.
Dagnon is one of the party supporters chosen by the White House to serve as a delegate representing Pennsylvania.
She was featured in a front-page news photo in Wednesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"I've been to every DNC since 1968," Dagnon said, "And, I've found all of them interesting and exciting."
She has served in a variety of roles ranging from a platform committee member to state floor delegate.
Her first appointment and work at the convention came on the nomination of the late Lyndon Johnson.
During this year's event in Charlotte, N.C., she is attending meetings related to the adoption of the party's platform as well as meeting with those supporting initiatives related to higher education.
The Pennsylvania delegation numbers 156 from across the state, including a number of elected officials, she said.
Dagnon, who joined SRU in 1987 after four years with the SRU Foundation Inc., used her White House nomination to run last April as part of the Democratic Party's delegate election process. "It really was not hard," she said, "I was unopposed."
"This year's nominating convention is a day shorter than usual, but there are also two sessions open to the public; the first day and Thursday when President Obama accepts the nomination. They are expecting between 70,000 and 80,000 people to attend," Dagnon said before heading to the convention.
The political event is being billed as "the most open and accessible in history."
Organizers said the event, "Isn't about political ritual or simply re-nominating the president, it's about Americans coming together. Success depends on involvement at the grassroots, engaging the American spirit and enlisting people who want to put their shoulder to the wheel and change the country for the better."
She said she had no specific assigned issues this year, but will lend her voice to supporting platform language on gay marriage. "I am a strong proponent of that issue, so it is important to me. I will also be looking for support to ensure that seniors are taken care in healthcare and Medicare issues," she said.
Dagnon said her most interesting convention was in 1968 when she attended the party event in Chicago as a member of the Students for a Democratic Society organization. The convention was marked with violence and mass arrests after then-Mayor Richard Daley ordered police to crack down on convention protestors as riots broke out. The convention nominated Hubert Humphrey to represent the party in the November election after Johnson announced he would not seek re-election.
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.