Skip to main content




Sept. 21, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

Inaugural activities kick-off tomorrow

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The invitations have been sent, the chairs ordered, the podium polished and the picnic planned, all that awaits is good weather on Sept. 28 when Slippery Rock University formally installs Cheryl Norton as its 16th president.

Guido Pichini, chair of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors, and Peter Garland, PASSHE executive vice chancellor, will formally invest Norton.

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony, which highlights a week of activities, will be staged on SRU's Quad (Rain: Smith Student Center). The ceremony will begin with a 10 a.m. grand entrance of visiting dignitaries, friends, faculty, staff and students walking from the Old Main area of campus to the ceremony site.

"Embracing the Challenge: Excellence, innovation and responsible citizenship" is the theme for the week's programming.

Norton was selected to lead SRU following a nationwide search conducted by SRU's Council of Trustees. She was among those recommended by the trustees then selected by PASSHE Chancellor John Cavanaugh and the PASSHE board of governors. She began work at the University June 4. Norton is SRU's first woman president.

The ceremony will include delivery of greetings from a number of University-associated affinity groups. They include:

  • David Wolfe, president of SRU's Student Government Association, representing students;
  • Joan Condravy, immediate past president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty representing faculty;
  • Thomas Watson, representing staff of the the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; State College and University Professional Association; Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America; and the Office Professional Employees International Union;
  • Charles Curry, vice president for finance and administration, representing the University's administration;
  • Kimberly Hudak Jones, president of the SRU Alumni Association, representing SRU alumni;
  • Regis Schiebel, chair of the Slippery Rock University Foundation, representing the foundation;
  • Kenn Harris, mayor of Slippery Rock representing the Slippery Rock community;
  • David Soltz, president of Bloomsburg University, representing the higher education community;
  • Eric Holmes, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees, representing the council; and
  • Guido Pichini, chair of the board of governors, will bring greetings from PASSHE.

William Williams, SRU provost and vice president for academic affairs and presiding officer for the inauguration, will recognize delegates attending the ceremony, Holmes will present Norton the presidential medallion and Wilma Cavill, SRU assistant professor of safety management, will serve as grand marshal for the ceremony. She will also present the University mace to Norton.

Selase Williams, of Lesley University, will introduce Norton.

Norton has titled her inauguration address "Accepting the Challenge."

The invocation will be delivered by Rev. Kevin Poecking, pastor at St. Peter Parish, and the benediction will be presented by Rev. Keith McIlwain, pastor at Slippery Rock United Methodist Church.

A student contingent from SRU's Army ROTC program will present the colors and the SRU Percussion Ensemble, directed by David Glover, associate professor of music, the SRU Chamber Singers, directed by Stephen Barr, assistant professor of music, and the SRU Brass Quintet, directed Stephen Hawk, professor of music, will offer musical selections.

A free campuswide picnic, staged near Vincent Science Center, follows the ceremony. (Rain: Smith Student Center)

Inauguration day festivities will conclude with a 6 p.m. Inaugural Dinner hosted by the SRU Council of Trustees in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. Reservations, $100 per person, are being accepted at 724.738.2000. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Norton Undergraduate Research Scholarship.

"We have asked those who have said they will participate in the processional to gather at their assigned location [North Hall, Alumni House, Weisenfluh Hall] in time to robe and be ready to move out by 9:45 a.m. The processional will depart for the ceremony site at 10 a.m.," said Tina Moser, assistant to the president and a member of the inaugural executive committee.

There will be restricted parking during the morning hours of Sept. 28 in the Alumni House and Smith Student Center parking lots. Classes will remain in session.

"We will have a number of guests on campus for the day and there may be delays in moving traffic through Slippery Rock and on campus. Everyone should plan accordingly." Moser said. "We will be watching the weather during the days before the ceremony and will make an announcement as early as possible as to location change should it become necessary."

Any schedule changes will be announced through the email publication "top of the rock" and through campuswide, mass-mails.

Pedestrian traffic near the SGA Pavilion will be restricted and re-routed on sidewalks both before and during the ceremony.

"This is truly an important day for our University," said William Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "We hope everyone involved in the campus community will participate and welcome Dr. Norton as our new president. Her leadership will undoubtedly set SRU on a new path. I am certain she will address the challenges in ways that will keep SRU as a leader in higher education throughout the region, across the state and the nation. We will all welcome her and lend our support to making her successful."

Inauguration Week activities opens tomorrow at 7:30 a.m., Sept. 22, with registration for the "ROCK Pride Inauguration Fun Run/Walk" at the Aebersold Student Recreation Center. The on-campus race, which highlights the University's commitment to wellness, starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at the same location. More than 275 pre-registrations have been completed. Registration will remain open until race time. Norton will participate in the race and present prizes at race end.

The race is co-sponsored by BHS FastERcare and the SRU Wellness Committee.

The entry fee is $12 for students and $20 for non-students with proceeds going to the Norton Undergraduate Research Scholarship at SRU.

Registration forms are available throughout campus or at:

The faculty fine arts exhibition titled "While You Were Out" continues through Sept. 28 in the Martha Gault Art Gallery located in Maltby Center. The free show, open to the entire community, features recently created works by SRU faculty. A reception is planned for 5-7 p.m., Sept. 24 in the gallery.

Three symposia have been planned as part of Inauguration Week. All will be in the Smith Student Center Theater.

They are:

Noon, Sept. 25: "Title IX: Understanding and providing democratic principles of justice and equality," presented by Roberta Page, a 1988 Slippery Rock University physical education graduate and now director of championships with the National Collegiate Athletic Association;

7 p.m., Sept. 26: "Protecting the world's resources: A common responsibility," presented by Patrick Burkhart, SRU professor of geography, geology and the environment; and

Noon, Sept. 27: "Everything I Learned About Leadership I Learned by Sweating," presented by President Norton. The SRU Student Government Association is sponsoring the symposium, which is open to students only.

The Sept 25 and Sept. 26 symposia are free and open to the campus and local community.

At 10 a.m., Sept. 29, a community service project organized by SRU's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership is planned to clean the campus.

An "Adopt-A-Tree project, sponsored by The Rocket, SRU's student newspaper, will include a ceremonial tree planning at the President's Residence at 11 a.m., Sept. 29 and mark the end of the week's activities. The planting symbolically represents that the University is now growing in new directions.

For more information about inaugural activities visit:, then click the "Inauguration" link.

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.