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Oct. 12, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

Homecoming preparations under way

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A parade, ribbon-cutting dedication, special dinners, alumni salutes, campus tours, athletic events, live WSRU-FM radio broadcasts by station alumni, a pep rally, bonfire, cheerleaders, bands, dance party, tailgating and fireworks will all be part of Slippery Rock University's homecoming Oct. 19-21.

The annual event is a collaborative effort by SRU's Student Government Association, the Green and White Society, the Office of Alumni Engagement and the SRU Alumni Association.

"We try to engage everyone," said Kelly Bailey, director of alumni engagement. "There are a number of activities especially designed for alumni and their families, including campus tours, breakfasts and the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards homecoming presentation dinner. And there are events designed for students, including a pep-rally, bonfire and homecoming party. This year, we also have the formal dedication and ribbon-cutting for the new Robert M. Smith Student Center."

The $39-million student center, which will be dedicated at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 20, replaces the University Union as the student's "living room on campus." The new three-story, 106,869-square-foot facility offers students and visitors a place to meet and relax as well as providing office space for student organizations. The new center includes a Starbucks coffee shop and the first Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant on a university campus.

A moveable-seats theatre and a ballroom, which can be divided for multi-use, and smaller conference rooms are also included in the open-space design. The center, named for Robert Smith, former SRU president, is the new home for the SRU Center for Involvement and Student Leadership and the SRU Women's Center.

The annual homecoming parade from the Giant Eagle Parking Lot, to downtown and south of Main Street to campus, kicks off at 10 a.m., Oct. 20.

The four recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award will serve as parade marshals. They are: Andy Major, a 1988 a communication graduate, now with the Buffalo Bills front office staff; Garry Benford, a 1977 physical education graduate, now personal fitness and wellness director at the Physical Therapy & Performance Center at the Cardinal Orthopedic Institute in Columbus, Ohio; Mary Jo Geyer, a 1973 physical education graduate, now program officer and technical consultant with the American Leprosy Missions in Greenville, S. C.; and John Hicks, a 1962 secondary education graduate who retired from SRU in 2002 after three decades of service in the University's College of Education and who currently serves as a member of the SRU Council of Trustees.

The SGA Bookstore and AVI have scheduled a number of theme-related events during the week.

As part of the Oct. 20 events, the SRU Alumni Association will sponsor a free "Alumni Tailgate Tent" on the Scarnati Band Field beginning at 11a.m., and continuing after the football game. Other after-game events include a Black Action Society-sponsored Homecoming Party in the Smith Student Center beginning at 10 p.m.

"At this year's homecoming, we are saluting the reunion class of 1962 as it marks its 50th anniversary. We will also honor the 1962 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Football Championship Team," Bailey said.

In addition to the planned football recognition ceremony, returning championship team members, coached by Charles Godlasky to a 9-1 season record, will enjoy special reserved stadium seats for the 2 p.m. SRU vs. Edinboro game in Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.

The Golden Graduate Class of 1962 will participate in a reception and dinner in the Smith Student Center following the game. A Golden Graduate Club Dinner, for those graduating in 1961 or earlier will be at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 20, in the Alumni House.

The Robert N. Aebersold Student Recreation Center will be open free to returning alumni throughout the weekend, and the SGA Bookstore, located in the new Smith Student Center, will offer a 20 percent discount all day Oct. 19-20.

Alumni returning for homecoming events can register starting at 8 a.m., Oct. 19, in Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center and an 8-9 a.m. breakfast for alumni working on campus will be hosted at the Alumni House. Tours of the new Student Center and the Alumni House will be available throughout the day, and Bailey Library archives will be open and feature a special display.

The weekend will also salute "50 Years of Radio" at the Rock Reunion. Nearly 100 SRU graduates who were part of building and operating WSRU-FM, the campus radio station are expected to attend. A panel discussion is planned for 3-5 p.m., Oct. 19, in the Smith Student Center.

James Aronson, a 1986 and 1990 SRU graduate and former on-air personality, is heading the station reunion efforts.

WSRU, which has used a variety of call letters over the years, launched with the call letters NFTY in 1962. The first broadcast occurred at 6 p.m., April 15, and included light classical performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The station was known on campus as "Nifty."

The station broadcast from North Hall until 1970, when it moved to the second floor of the University Union and adopted the call letters WNFT, where it remains. The station switched to WSRU-FM in 2006.

Alumni will staff the station's microphones Oct. 20, including presenting on-air shows and offering play-by-play, color commentary and sideline reports during the SRU vs. Edinboro football game. Additional station-related events are planned for Oct. 19 and Oct. 21.

Home athletic events for the weekend include an all day cross country event at Coopers Lake, a 7 p.m., Oct. 19 volleyball match against Edinboro, and a 2 p.m., Oct. 20, match against Gannon. Both games are in Morrow Field House.

Student activities are focused on Oct. 19 events, planned by SRU's Green and White Society, including the long-standing, traditional pep rally, bonfire and fireworks. Activities kick off at 7 p.m. at the ARC with the presentation of the 2012 homecoming court. The SRU Marching Pride, dance team, cheerleaders and athletes will participate. George Mihalik, SRU football coach will address the crowd. Fireworks and a bonfire at Old Thompson Field will follow.

Oct. 21 alumni events include a Golden Grads Farewell Breakfast at 9 a.m. in the Alumni House. Radio station alumni will have a 10 a.m. brunch at Ginger Hill in Slippery Rock. A "Polish The Rock" campus and community clean up with volunteers is planned for 1 p.m.

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.