Skip to main content






March 18, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Trustees re-name football stadium to honor coach Mihalik


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s Council of Trustees paid homage to George Mihalik, longtime SRU head football coach, by re-naming the campus football stadium the Mihalik-Thompson Stadium in his honor.

            In a multi-part, unanimously approved resolution, council recognized Mihalik’s service to the football program since 1977 and his win/loss record of 153-95-4.

            “Coach Mihalik is The Rock’s all-time leader in career wins with a 153-95-4 record, is a respected and beloved coach by the young men under his tutelage and demonstrates the highest degree of professionalism and personal integrity,” said John Hicks, an SRU trustee, who read the resolution at the public meeting

            Each trustee in attendance added their own personal congratulations. “I thank the trustees of Slippery Rock University,” Mihalik, who is also a professor of safety management at SRU, said in accepting the resolution while flanked by his wife, Laura and his two daughters.

            “I grew up as a coalminer’s son. Because of that I always had to work hard. I have always tried as a faculty member, coach and head coach to do my best. I hope my efforts have been remembered. SRU has provided a family, a job and a home. I thank you. It is such an honor to have bestowed upon my family. I am humbled,” he said.

            A formal dedication is planned for 7 p.m., Sept. 10, SRU vs. Cheyney football game.

            The stadium was formerly the N. Kerr Thompson Stadium. Robert Smith, SRU president, outlined the steps SRU is already undertaking in an effort to convince legislators to increase education funding in the 2011-12 budget.

Smith, who has already hosted two informational workshops that drew more than 800 faculty, staff and students, said, “The intervening three months since our last meeting have been entirely overshadowed by last week’s recommendation by Gov. Tom Corbett to cut 50 percent of the state appropriation to the PASSHE institutions. Labeled as ‘The largest such proposed cut in higher education in the country this year,’ by the Boston Globe and others, the impact was as much from the surprise as from the size. For the state system, the cut would leave only $232 million, which is $2.5 million less than the system's first appropriation in 1983-84, when enrollment was 81,524, compared to an enrollment of 120,000 in 2010-11.”

 “The size of this proposed cut is difficult to grasp. For the state system, the total cut is approximately $60 million more than the entire budget of our largest university, IUP. It is more than the entire budgets of Cheyney, Mansfield and Lock Haven combined. For SRU, the reduction is more than six times the total budget for advancement, student affairs and public relations combined. The proposed reduction does not account for the replacement of the ARRA funds, best known as “stimulus money,” of $38.2 million,” Smith said.

“The additional impact of the reduction of the state allocation on Slippery Rock University is difficult to fathom. The cumulative shortfall of failing to restore ARRA funds and the proposed reduction is $24.3 million. Although the 50 percent reduction is for the state appropriation and not the overall budget, the shortfall is still 23.6 percent of the educational and general budget for the University. Last year, SRU received $39 million in appropriated funds, including $3.1 million in ARRA money. In terms of funding per student, this shortfall represents $2,700 per student on a current tuition base of $5,804,” he said.

“Our strategy is a combination of advocacy for restoration of the funds and planning for the reduction. With only four months to assemble a budget – and conclude negotiations on five labor contracts – we obviously have much to do before July 1. We are experienced in facing these challenges. The only difference is the scope of our work in this round. We have already held two informational sessions with faculty, staff, and students. We distributed an announcement to all of our faculty, staff, and students alerting them to the issues. We have updated our Web site to allow two-way communication as we move forward,” he said. In a related area, Smith announced the launch of an advocacy networked called “ROCK Nation.”

“We envision ROCK Nation to be a group of individuals willing to enthusiastically communicate messages of support for the University and higher education in general,” Smith said. “This is a nonpartisan project. Its purpose is to help share the SRU story with elected officials, businesses, community groups and prospective friends of the University.

Information regarding the ROCK Nation, including a membership form, can be found at:

The site also includes helpful advocacy tools, including sample letters and a “how to find your representative” link.

Carena Winters, assistant professor, and Jeffrey Lynn, associate professor, both in the exercise and rehabilitative sciences department, presented details concerning their department’s work in the “Exercise is Medicine” program under way on campus and internationally.

The two told the assemblage, “If you were given a prescription for a pill that would give you good health: You would take it. In fact, exercise is the same as a pill – Exercise is Medicine,” Lynn said.

The presentation included charts showing how high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking can have negative effects on health. Combined, such factors do not total the negative effect inactivity has on health, they said.

Winters said in order for Exercise is Medicine to have an effect, it would have to be implemented as a behavioral change and that SRU is launching programs to get more people involved in a variety of exercise programs.

            Cindi Dillon, assistant to the provost, and Neil Cosgrove, professor of English, both co-chairs of SRU’s Middle States Commission on Higher Education Self-Study Team, updated the council on the recently submitted report.

Middle States evaluators will be on campus March 20-23 meeting with various groups, including students, faculty, staff and alumni as they prepare their final report.

An open session for faculty is at 3:30 p.m., March 21, and an open session for students is at 12:30 p.m., March 22. Both sessions are in the SRU Alumni House.

Accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance and its resources. Based on the results of institutional review by peers and colleagues assigned by the commission, accreditation attests to the judgment of the Commission on Higher Education that an institution has met the commission’s criteria.

            The committee bases its report on 14 standards listed as the “Characteristics of Excellence.”

            John Ettling, president at SUNY-Plattsburgh, is leading the evaluation team reviewing SRU. He visited campus in October to outline the evaluation team’s anticipated needs.

            Standard contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports were accepted as was the auditor’s report from ParenteBeard that gave the University, its 24th consecutive clean audit.

            Trustees also approved the fiscal year 2011-12 Capital Budget Request for the University seeking $22.8 million. Top projects include Phase III of the Central Boiler Plant upgrade, modifications of West Gym, and additional funding for the conversion of Miller Auditorium to a Performing Arts Center. Funds are also being sought for deferred maintenance projects, renovations and additions for McKay Education Building, Bailey Library and work on Morrow Field House.

            The trustee action will be forwarded to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for consideration in preparation for the system’s Capital Budget Request to the governor.

            A resolution calling for $3 million in capital funding for construction of an addition to Patterson Hall was approved. The building, which was converted from a campus residence hall to an academic building, will have an exercise science laboratory for use by the exercise and rehabilitative sciences department added. Funding for the project, if approved by the PASSHE board of governors, will allow the project to be a system-financed capital project.

            Trustees approved a $50.50 per semester increase in the University Union Fee. The fee is used to operate the University Union and set aside funds for maintenance reserves. Part of the fee increase will go toward the new Student Center set to open in January. The facility is a auxiliary service at SRU.

            Council approved a 5 percent increase in the Meal Plan Fee. The increase amounts to a $73 per semester hike for the 15-meal flex plan for residence hall students. Other meal plans will have a similar increase.

            Trustees also approved a 3 percent increase in the traditional Residence Hall Fee, which translates to $48 more per semester for students living in a double room. The hike affects students living in North and Rhoads halls, and SRU’s ROCK Apartments.

            The council’s governance committee submitted a recommendation that the current slate of officers be retained for a second one-year term running June through June 2012. Council will vote on the recommendation at its June meeting. Current officers are Joshua Young, chair; Eric Holmes, vice chair; and John Thornburgh, secretary.

            Trustees were told of 24 instructional appointments, five strategic leadership and tactical leadership/senior professional appointments, four state university administrator appointments and a grant-funded program coordinator appointment. Eight support staff appointments were reported.

            Seven faculty and support staff retirements were reported. They include Richard Wukich, a 43-year professor of art; Kundan Bhatia, a 40-year professor of professional studies; Dennis Fair, 41-year professor of special education; Patricia Joseph, 26-year assistant professor of computer science; April Longwell, 12-year assistant professor with the Honors Program; Judith DePalma, 10-year professor of nursing; and Cinda Taggart, 30-year clerk typist 3 in the Contracts Office.

            Carolyn Prorok, who served as a professor in the department of geography, geology and the environment for 21 years before retiring in 2008, has been granted professor emeritus status. Bruce Russell, who served as dean of SRU’s College of Business, Information and Social Science and as a member of the communication department faculty for 37 years before retiring in 2010, has been granted dean emeritus status.

            Richard Marchand, associate professor of mathematics, has been granted a leave to serve as a visiting professor of math at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He will return to SRU in May 2012.

            Council’s next meeting will be June 9-10.


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.