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 Award-winning Post-Gazette Columnist to Speak at SRU Commencement Dec. 13 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:



           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Tony Norman, award-winning, general interest columnist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will deliver Slippery Rock University’s winter commencement address as the university bestows graduate hoods to 71 master’s degree candidates and awards diplomas to more than 420 undergraduates in 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13 ceremonies.

          Commencement will be held in Morrow Field House. No tickets are required.

      Norman, who joined the newspaper’s city desk in 1988, rose through the editorial department ranks, including serving on the feature desk as pop music/pop culture critic, to become a member of the editorial board in 1999. He says when he realized he knew more about Madonna, the pop culture singer, than the Federal Reserve, he asked for a general interest column that would allow him to undertake the kind of journalism that can make a difference. He was given the column in the mid-1990s.

           Earlier this year, he was drawn to write about SRU when a sculpture in the university’s Kaleidoscope arts festival raised the ire of some students, faculty and staff. Norman called for a wider view and was invited to hear a campus panel discussion of the issue of art and censorship. The discussion gave rise to a second column in which he praised the university writing, in part, "SRU continues to stand by the principles that make a university great…”

           His columns have garnered numerous national, state and local awards. In 1999, he won first place in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for newspapers with more than 100,000 circulation, and he also won first place in the Keystone, Golden Quill and Pittsburgh Black Media Federation competitions. He won the second-place National Excellence award in feature writing for columns from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors in addition to an honorable mention Matrix Award from Women in Communication. In 2000, he was featured on the cover of Editor and Publisher as "Columnist of the Future,” and last year, won the first-place Matrix.

           A graduate of Calvin College and a resident of Swisshelm Park, he and his wife have three children.

           SRU’s Interim President Robert Smith will open the ceremony, and Robert Marcus, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees will deliver greetings from the trustees. Dr. William F. Williams, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, will present the candidates for degrees which will be conferred by Dr. Smith.

           The graduates will be inducted into the SRU Alumni Association and Lt. Col. William Bialozor will offer the oath of office to four graduates commissioned earlier in the day as second lieutenants.

           Music will be provided by Stephen Hawk, associate professor of music, and Kathryn D. Miller, organist, with Philip Giliberto, a music major from Saegerstown, leading the SRU Alma Mater. The “Star-Spangled Banner” will be presented by a quartet, including Michael Sypien of Pittsburgh, Christopher Keiper, Beaver Falls, Jeff Frankenstein, Moon Township, and Mark Erickson, New Wilmington.

           A pre-commencement reception for graduates, family and friends will open at 11 a.m. in the Russell Wright Alumni House, and a post-reception will be held in Weisenfluh Dining Hall immediately following the ceremony.

 PN, PGN, WPN, PR  -- A photo of Mr. Norman is available at (click on commencement story)


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