March 18, 2004
Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PRESIDENT ROBERT SMITH RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD
FOR STUDENT RETENTION; HIS ‘LEADERSHIP AND
ROCK, Pa. – For his commitment to the success of first-year
students, Slippery Rock University Interim President Dr. Robert M.
Smith has been named one of 10 Outstanding First-Year Student
Advocates in the nation by the University of South Carolina's
National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students
in Transition and Houghton Mifflin Publishing Co.
award, in its 15th year, honors outstanding work on
behalf of first-year college students. Recipients were chosen from
center noted that Smith has been a staunch advocate for first-year
students and that his tireless work has decreased attrition and
helped SRU turn eight years of enrollment decline into four
consecutive years of enrollment increase – even though the
university’s own consultant in 1999 predicted continued drops
because of poor demographics. Smith arrived in 1999 as provost and
was appointed interim president in 2002.
“Through his leadership, creativity, and dynamism, Robert
Smith changed the campus culture from one of disengagement,
stagnation and doubt to one of engagement, progressiveness and
trust” the center said on its Web site.
offers a number of programs for first-year students, including its
award-winning First Year seminar that engages three-fourths of
newcomers and Week of Welcome freshman orientation activities.
Smith was also instrumental in launching Integrated Learning
Community Clusters, which places students with similar academic
interests in the same classes so that they forge stronger
connections with peers and faculty.
Smith's influence has also resulted in increased programming for
students on weekends, development of living/learning community
residential halls and improved advisement
ward other recipients are:
Earl G. Bagley, vice president for student affairs and associate
professor, Columbus State University.
Rosemary King Carr, director of student success programs,
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Kathleen S. Evans, associate dean of students and director of the
student advisement center, State University of New York College at
Jason A. Finkelstein, director of coordinated freshman programs,
City University of New York, Bronx Community
Jeffrey L. Hale, assistant vice president of academic affairs,
enrollment management and marketing,
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Patricia Maestro, faculty coordinator for student success,
Bridge Program, Mount San Antonio Community
Eric L. Newhall, associate dean of the college, director of the
Core Program and professor of English and comparative literary
studies, Occidental College
Janice E. Odom, director, The Caldwell Programs, North Carolina
State University; and Dorothy P. Ward, assistant professor of
English, director of Entering Student Program and chair of
university studies, The University of Texas at El