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April 27, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


 SRU trustees welcome president-designate

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University trustees today welcomed President-designate Cheryl Norton who will take over the top job June 4 as part of their quarterly meeting. Norton was on campus for informal get-acquainted meetings with trustees, faculty and administrators and attended the council’s session.

            “I am certainly proud to have been selected as the next president of Slippery Rock University,” Norton said, after being introduced by Joshua Young, council chair. “During the interview process, I got to see the campus, but as I come back I am enjoying the energy, vibrancy and warm feelings of what Slippery Rock University is all about.”

            “I look forward to being with you in 30 days. Thank you for making me part of the University. It is indeed an honor,” she said.

            Norton said she looked forward to helping increase SRU’s reputation across Pennsylvania and the nation.

            In welcoming Norton and wishing her well as president, Young also thanked Charles Curry, who has served as acting president since Feb. 14 while retaining his duties as vice president for finance and administrative affairs. “Your work as acting president and in working with the trustees is greatly appreciated. It was tremendous that you were able to step up to the plate and we thank you,” he said.

            Curry used part of his President’s Report to thank the trustees and his cabinet and staff for their support during his term as president.

Norton was named to the position April 5 by the Pennsylvania State System board of governors following a national search. She is a senior fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C., and former president of Southern Connecticut State University.

            Trustees used the meeting to honor fellow members and those who served on the presidential search committee that resulted in Norton’s selection.

            The search committee was cited for it dedication and for contributing “time, energy and talent to the very important task of selecting the 16th president of Slippery Rock University.” It also noted, “The team was representative of University key constituencies, including students, alumni, trustees, faculty, administrators, staff and professional boards.”

            The resolution thanked the committee, chaired by Eric Holmes, SRU trustee, for its commitment to the search process. “We appreciate your efforts and congratulate you on a job well done.”

Trustees also recognized John Hicks, SRU professor emeritus of elementary education, with a resolution honoring his recent election as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Council of Trustees.

            Hicks was named an SRU trustee in 2007 and quickly became active in PACT, an organization composed of members of the councils of trustees from each of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s 14 member universities.

            The resolution cited Hicks for his for his “work on numerous PACT conference planning committees, providing expertise and counsel to the group on topics related to education and for preparing information for discussion with PASSHE officials.”

            Hicks retired from Slippery Rock University in 2002, following nearly 30 years of service. He attended Brandeis University, John Carroll University, Kent State University and Penn State University. He has experience as a teacher from grade seven through graduate education.           

            Curry also recognized four students who participated in the PASSHE Advocacy Program in Harrisburg and met with legislators to explain the importance of state system universities and the need for state funding.

            Honored were: Jordan Bailley, a political science major from North Versailles and Student Government Association president; Grace Evans, mathematics major from Apollo; Elise Michaux, student affairs graduate student from Connellsville; and Michael Thornhill, a communication major from New Castle.

            In action items, trustees voted to approve the Capital Budget Authorization Request for 2012-12, which is part of SRU’s five-year plan and calls for $12.4 million in renovations to McKay Education Building and $16.3 million to renovate the University Union as the new Student Success Center once the Robert M. Smith Student Center opens later this summer. The budget request will be forwarded to the state system board of governors for consideration.

            Council voted to repeal a previously approved 4.8 percent of tuition student health services fee and substituted 1 5.5 percent increase of the current fee for operation of the Student Health Center. The increase is equal to $7.50 per semester, effective fall semester. The fee increase was not collected during the current academic year.

            A request to increase the residence hall fee for Rhodes and North halls and the ROCK Apartment complex by 2 percent was approved. A 2 percent increase in SRU’s new suite-style residence halls owned and operated by the Slippery Rock University Foundation Inc., is also expected, but does not require council approval.

            Those on various meal plans offered on campus will see plan costs increase by 3 percent, as per SRU’s contract with AVI Fresh that ties the meal plan cost to the Consumer Price Index. The increase was approved by trustees and will range from $21-$51, depending on meal plan selection.

            Council also approved the contracts, fixed assets, service and supply purchase orders reports as presented.

            As required by board of governor’s policy, trustees also approved a resolution certifying that both the SRU Foundation Inc., and the Slippery Rock University Alumni Association do, in fact, make financial contributions to the University or provide similar benefits on a regular basis.

            It was reported that charitable contributions to SRU were up 13 percent over a year ago.

            Council was informed that Keith Dills had been hired as dean of the College of Education effective July 2 and of 39 instructional appointments for fall semester. A number of other staff and support staff appointments were reported.

            Robert Smith, who retired as president in February after 12 years service, has been named president emeritus; Gene Wilhelm, 10-year professor of sociology, anthropology and social work who retired in 1987, was granted professor emeritus status; and Francis Hensler, software support specialist in administrative information systems and technologies with 47 year service, and Carl Miller, 40-year director of administrative information systems and technologies, have been granted administrator emeritus status. Both Hensler and Miller retired in 2010.

            It was announced that Donald Gibala, assistant professor of public health and social work would retired in July after 21 years service; Charles Tichy, professor of modern languages and cultures would retire in June 2013, after 46 years service.

Also retiring are: Cynthia Dillon, assistant to the provost for academic affairs, after 25 years service; Steve Roberts, coordinator of recreational sports and Outdoor Adventures, after 26 years service; Gay DeMarsh, administrative assistant in the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, 22 years service; Mary Purdy, library technician, with 22 years service; and Diana Brest, custodial work supervisor in facilities and planning with 36 years service.

            Council’s June meeting will be set once Norton takes the helm June 4.


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.