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 SRU Academic Honors Convocation to Salute Excellence 




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

Note: See related story on convocation speaker Tim Wilson

For photos of award winners CLICK on name:

Stephen Hawk

Shelia I. Drohan

Thomas McPherson

Leigh Puntureri

Timothy P. Wilson



          SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s annual Academic Honors Convocation, set for 2 p.m. April 4 in Morrow Field House, will salute the outstanding academic work of more than 1,800 students and include the annual presentation of the President’s Awards for Excellence.

          Timothy P. Wilson, a 1962 SRU graduate now vice president and camp director for Seeds of Peace, an organization working to bring peace in the Middle East, is the speaker.[Editor’s note: Details in separate release.]


          This year’s President’s Awards recipients are as follows:

     Excellence in Teaching, Stephen Hawk, associate professor of music;

     Outstanding Alumni, Sheila I. Drohan, a 1974 SRU graduate and current chief executive officer at Corporate Fitness Works;

     Outstanding Service, Thomas McPherson, manager, SGA Bookstore;

          Leigh Puntureri, a graduating senior in dance and theater from Grove City, will be the senior student speaker, selected for holding the highest grade-point average, a perfect 4.0, on the largest number of credits – 155 – in her graduating class.

           The public event is expected to draw more than 4,000 students, faculty, staff, parents and family members.

Faculty Mentors to Be Honored

          The program will be led by Interim President Smith and include tributes to SRU’s Presidential Scholars from the senior, junior and sophomore class. Each Presidential Scholar will name a faculty or staff member who has served as the student’s mentor – a new feature in this year’s ceremony. The named mentors will stand as the student is recognized on stage.

Excellence in Teaching

            Hawk is being cited as a respected musician throughout the western Pennsylvania region, for his inspirational teaching and directorial experiences that epitomize the standards for the award. A graduate of the University of Texas, Hawk was a member of jazz trumpet faculty at the Birch Creek Jazz Academy and has served as trumpet instructor at Westminster College. At SRU, he has taught a myriad of music courses and developed the University’s first computer music course and laboratory.

           A doctoral of music arts degree candidate at the University of Texas, he received the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s District 5 Citation of Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003, and has worked to develop an appreciation of jazz through teaching and performance. His activities as teacher, performer and director confirm he is one of the most productive, energetic and committed faculty members at SRU working to make the University synonymous with excellence in jazz. Under his leadership, the SRU Jazz Band represented the University in a highly acclaimed European Tour in 2002 and produced a CD upon its return to campus.

Outstanding Alumni Award

           Drohan has been active in the business of fit­ness and health since gradua­tion. While on campus, she distinguished herself as an Outstanding Physical Education Major and served as president of the Women’s Recreation Association, and was included in Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities. She was a member of Delta Psi Kappa, the national physical education honorary. She began her fitness and health career as the director of the Summit, New Jersey, YWCA, she followed with work at numerous facilities before using her management experience to found Corporate Fitness Works, Inc.

          She developed a comprehensive management system and works on client relations, marketing, business development and contract negotiations. A member of SRU’s Presidents Advisory Council, Drohan is a member of the TEC, an international organization of chief executive officers, and as a member and president of Goshen Oaks Home Owners Association board of directors. In 2001 she created the Sheila I. Drohan Scholarship, which continues to help exercise science students earn a rock solid education at SRU.

Outstanding Service

          With an SRU career covering more than 35 years, McPherson has been dedicated in his service to students and the entire University community as manager of the SGA Bookstore all combine to earned him recognition as this year’s President’s Award for Outstanding Service recipient. 

          He has served tirelessly in setting new standards for the bookstore’s operation, service  – and expansion, including work to open the Gallery 164 Bookstore in downtown Slippery Rock, which is leading downtown redevelopment efforts. He is equally tireless in his promotion and support of the University. Using his abilities as store manager, he has expanded the Slippery Rock University name around the world through sale of campus memorabilia items and his continuous promotion of what is the heart of SRU to every student, parent and campus visitor he meets -- people. 

           The award was established by the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert McMullen, both long-time University supporters. Mr. McMullen was a 1951 SRU graduate and was deeply involved in creating the Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc. The award continues through the generosity of their son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Linda McMullen.

Senior Speaker

           Puntureri, an academic leader at SRU, is dedicated to her studies. She will graduate in May with 169 credit hours. Nominated for the All-USA College Academic Team sponsored by USA Today for her outstanding character, friendly nature, strong work ethic, enthusiasm for assigned tasks and work and leadership in the campus and community, Puntureri was also cited for her academic initiatives and research efforts.

          Involved in multiple campus theater and dance department programs since her arrival as a freshman, the graduating senior has excelled in her undergraduate studies including research work in dance kinesiology. She has taught in SRU’s Saturday Children’s Dance Program and been involved in numerous dance department and theater department productions, including the successful “The Play’s the Thing” summer camp. She has danced with Pittsburgh-based Dance Alloy and performed at Hartwood Acres. She has served as technical director for SRU productions and has served as president and treasurer of Sigma Rho Delta, the national dance honorary, as historian for Alpha Psi Omega, the national theater honorary, and is a member of the Student Dance Advisory Board.

          A reception for convocation participants will immediately follow the ceremony in Morrow Field House.



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