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March 30, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




Convocation features non-traditional student speaker


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Jeffrey Pilarski, a Slippery Rock University history major from Slippery Rock carrying a 4.0 grade-point average, will be the student speaker at SRU’s annual Academic Honors Convocation at 2 p.m. Sunday. His topic is “Better than Yourself.”

           Pilarski, who will graduate in May with a 4.0 grade-point average, was selected by a panel of judges from a field of 20 candidates.

            A former U.S. Marine embassy guard, Pilarski served in the military from 2002 to 2008. He protected diplomatic personnel and property in the U.S and abroad.
            His duties included monitoring an array of security equipment to control access into and out of embassy buildings while serving as the emergency contact for U.S. citizens visiting foreign countries.

            He was responsible for scheduling, documentation and reporting of all required training to ensure operational proficiency for a detachment of 24 Marines. He also served as a squad leader for eight Marines.

            Earlier, he had served as a tactical telephone network specialist with the Marines installing maintaining and trouble shooting telephone equipment and ancillaries. He helped maintain the telephone network for a forward operating base housing 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

            As a non-traditional SRU student, he has accumulated more than 96 volunteer hours with the Office for Students with Disabilities, was a founder of the Wheel’n 4 Wishes Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser and finished an Ironman Distance Triathlon, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

            Pilarski is a 15-year member of the Sons of the American Legion.

            Convocation will also honor nearly 2,812 dean's list students, 60 Presidential Scholar honorees, 636 academic scholarship recipients, 143 scholar athletes, 11 community service learning volunteers and other 2011 President's Award recipients, including Kimberly Smith, SRU assistant professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, recipient of the 2011 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Alan Levy, SRU history professor and author of “Floyd Patterson: A Boxer and a Gentleman,” the life story of the legendary boxer, recipient of the President’s Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement; and Kathleen Jack, executive staff assistant in Slippery Rock University’s University Advancement Division, recipient of the 2011 President’s Award for Outstanding Service.

A reception for convocation participants and their guests will follow the event in the field house.


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.