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SRU trustees establish Smith Community Leadership Award;

Name retiring President Robert Smith as first recipient

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees today created the Robert M. Smith Community Leadership Award to honor those whose leadership has made a significant impact in the community, then named Robert Smith, SRU’s retiring president and award namesake, as its first recipient.

Smith, who has served SRU since 1999, including two years as provost and vice president for academic affairs and 10 as president, retires Feb. 10.

“The council could find no more fitting award or honor to bestow on Dr. Smith than by creating this award, which honors his leadership and devotion to community engagement. The award, which will be presented annually, will honor those whose work may confront societal or civic issues, address health or environmental concerns, or promote art and the humanities,” said Joshua Young, council chair who read the resolution creating the award.

Smith, who was surprised by the award’s creation and presentation, thanked the trustees for their efforts. “I am certainly honored, and humbled, to know you have created this award, and I am very pleased to have been selected as its first recipient. I thank you so very much. You have all been truly great people to work with – and great friends. I will miss you all.”

Smith and his wife, Ramona, will move to Tennessee in retirement.

The new award, which will include a financial commitment in the recipient’s honor to a scholarship that is part of the award, honors Smith, who “throughout his tenure as the 15th president of Slippery Rock University, made extraordinary contributions in advancing innovative strategies to improve opportunity and excellence in the community. President Smith was instrumental in establishing civic engagement as a core value of the University, and sought to produce graduates who were competent, civil and caring citizens who would make their communities and our world a better place for all people to live and work.”

“The award will recognize individuals and/or registered student organizations that go the extra mile to get involved in programs and activities that benefit the community. Through their leadership, awardees inspire others to get involved and make a difference the lives of others.”