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 SRU graduates 561; streams commencement ceremony on Web 




December 4, 2008

Contact: K.E. Schwab  




SRU graduates 561; streams commencement ceremony on Web       


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - U.S. Navy Capt. Kathlene Contres, commandant of the U.S. Navy's Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute and a 1977 Slippery Rock University graduate, will become the first SRU commencement speaker to have her graduation address video-streamed worldwide.

           Contres will deliver her 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13 address in Morrow Field House to 561 graduates. The December graduating class includes one doctorate of physical therapy degree recipient, 77 master's degree and 483 undergraduate degree recipients. 

           Tickets are required to attend the ceremony. All graduating seniors have been issued four tickets for distribution to family and friends. Those unable to attend will be able to watch the ceremony on any Internet-connected computer.

           "In part, due to the large number of people who want to attend commencement, and, in part, because some of our graduates, including international students and those with family stationed with the military around the world, find their family and friends cannot attend, we thought we should broadcast the ceremony on the Internet," said Thomas Shannon, PC support manager in SRU's Office of Information Technology.

           "By using our video streaming capabilities, anyone with access to the Internet will be able to view the proceedings," Shannon said.

           Those wanting to watch, including SRU alumni and friends, should link to the SRU homepage ( then click on the "Commencement Ceremony" link.  

           "We plan to have the link available about 1:15 p.m., then switch to the actual ceremony as the grand marshal leads in the graduates and guests," Shannon said. 


Speaker biography

            Contres, commandant of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, is the Navy's highest ranking female Hispanic line officer on active duty. She is based at Patrick Air Force Base in Pal Bay, Fla. Contres oversees a joint-service school supporting all Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard equal opportunity and equal employment opportunity program requirements.

            A native of Spangler, Pa., she entered the Navy in 1980, after receiving her bachelor of science

degree in health education with an emphasis in sports medicine from SRU. She went on to earn her master's degree in educational leadership at San Diego State University. In February 1981, she received her Navy commission at Officer Candidate School, Newport, R.I. Her initial duty assignment was at the Naval Audiovisual Center in Washington, D.C.

            Other early assignments included the Naval Magazine and in Guam as the quality assurance and safety officer where she was responsible for both weapon and personnel safety. In 1985, she transferred to Hawaii as the fleet retention officer, reporting to the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. A year later, Contres was reassigned to the Fleet Manpower Programming Office, where she was responsible for programming billets for all shore activities in the Pacific Fleet.

            In 1989, Contres reported to Recruit Training Command in San Diego, where she served in various billets, including recruit division officer and director of Apprenticeship Training Schools. From 1992 to 1994, she was the officer-in-charge of Personnel Support Detachment at the U.S. Naval Station at Long Beach where she led her detachment in earning a record number of customer service and personnel accountability awards. 

            She was next assigned to the Pentagon to work with the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Training Directorate where she led the Shore Training Assessments Branch in providing needs-analysis for preparation of the Navy Training Budget.

            After completing another successful tour in one of the Navy's most challenging fields - recruiting, she was named commanding officer of the Navy Recruiting District in Buffalo, N.Y., a position she had from 1997 to 2000 while overseeing Navy recruiting in New York and western Connecticut. Her success in that post resulted in her selection for a follow-on tour at Navy Recruiting Headquarters in Millington, Tenn. In Tennessee, she served as director of Diversity Recruiting Programs and was responsible for reversing a declining trend in minority officer accessions to the highest attainment in four years and enlisted minority accessions to 46 percent.

            Prior to arriving at DEOMI, she was director of the Service and Support Division at the Navy

Personnel Command, a new directorate established to ensure consistent, comprehensive support for Navy personnel and their families. Her programs included Substance Abuse Prevention, Exceptional Family Member Program, Voting Assistance, Suicide Prevention, Retiree Activities, Field Support Programs and Equal Opportunity Programs.

            Her awards include inclusion as one of Hispanic Business Magazine's 20 Elite Women for 2006, a 2005 Las Primeras Award from MANA, a national Latina organization, a leadership award from Latina Style magazine, Society of Mexican American Engineers & Scientists Medalla de Oro, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers President's Award, the Association of Naval Services Officers Leadership Award, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Navy Commendation Medals, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, an Overseas Service Ribbon, an Expert Pistol Ribbon, two Recruiting Service Ribbons and nine Navy Recruiting Gold Wreath awards.

            Contres was recently elected President of the Association of Naval Services Officers, whose mission is to improve recruitment and retention of Hispanic officers in the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.


Ceremony highlights:

            The ceremony will be led by Robert Smith, SRU president. Robert Taylor, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees will deliver greetings on behalf of the council. William Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and SRU's college deans will present the candidates as they receive their diplomas.

            SRU's Army ROTC program will commission two graduating seniors as second lieutenants.

            Richard Manning, a 1975 SRU graduate and president of the SRU Alumni Association, will induct the new graduates as members of the association.

            A reception for graduates and their guests will follow the ceremony in Weisenfluh Dining Hall.


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.




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