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Dec. 6, 2011
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



SRU awards 508 diplomas at Dec. 17 commencement


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University will award 508 undergraduate and graduate degrees when it hosts its winter commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., Dec. 17, in Morrow Field House.

            The event will mark Robert Smith’s last commencement as president of SRU. He will retire in February after 10 years at the helm. Smith awarded more than 14,600 diplomas as president.

            Smith will confer degrees on SRU graduating seniors and deliver remarks.

            John Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, will bring greetings from the state system’s board of governors. His wife, Christine, president of Pathseekers II Inc., will also attend and process with the faculty.

Joshua Young, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees, will offer remarks on behalf of the council and SRU’s deans will present the candidates for their degrees.  

            The University will grant 61 master’s degrees and 447 undergraduate degrees. The College of Business, Information and Social Sciences will award 167 undergraduate degrees; the College of Education, 140 undergraduate and 44 graduate degrees; the College of Health, Environment and Science, 94 undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees; and the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, 46 undergraduate and five graduate degrees.

            Clayton Austin, a criminology and criminal justice major from Natrona Heights, will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army with the oath-of-office administered by Lt. Col. Patrick A. Callahan, head of SRU’s Army ROTC program. Austin will attend helicopter pilot school at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Kimberly Hudak Jones, a 1986 SRU graduate and president of the SRU Alumni Association, will induct the graduates as members of the association.

            The SRU Brass Ensemble, conducted by Stephen Hawk, professor of music, and the SRU’s Men’s Quartet will provide musical selections.

            More than 2,500 family members and friends are expected to attend. Tickets are required and have been distributed to graduates. Doors open at 9 a.m. For those without admission tickets, the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center will be open feature a live-feed of the ceremonies. The event will also be available live on the Web at:, then click the “Commencement” link.

            The SRU Alumni Association will host a pre-commencement “Graduation Reception” for graduates and their families from 8-11 a.m. at the alumni house. A post-graduation reception for graduates and their guests will take place immediately following the ceremony.


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.