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 SRU Academic Honors Convocation salutes scholarly achievement 



April 1, 2010

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU Academic Honors Convocation salutes scholarly achievement 


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University will salute nearly 2,650 dean's list students, 60 Presidential Scholar honorees, 520 academic scholarship recipients, 130 scholar athletes, 17 community service learning volunteers and the 2010 President's Award recipients at its annual Academic Honors Convocation April 11.

           The 2 p.m. event in Morrow Field House will be led by Robert Smith, SRU president.

           Benjamin Baker, a graduating senior from Phillipsburg, will be the speaker. The geology and environmental studies major has been on the dean's list since enrolling at SRU in 2006 and has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. His minor is geographic information technology.

           Richard Marchand, assistant professor of mathematics will receive the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching; David Dailey, professor of computer science, will receive the President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement, and Eliott Baker, executive director of the Office of Academic Records, Summer School and Graduate Programs, will receive the President's Award for Outstanding Service.

           Seth Sykora-Bodie, a political science, geography and French major from science, geography, will be honored as SRU's nominee for the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence. The Harrisville resident is a co-runner up for the award presented by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

           The award was established by Syed R. Ali-Zaidi, a charter member of the PASSHE board of governors, in honor of his grandfather Mir Wilayat Husain. The runner up award includes $500.

           Dean's list students will be honored for their academic achievement of at least a 3.5 grade-point average on 12 or more, newly attempted, graded credit hours during spring or fall semester 2009.

           The Presidential Scholars program honors the top 20 students in the senior, junior and sophomore classes by grade point. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Scholar Athletes program recognizes students with a 3.25 or higher grade-point average while competing in a variety sport.

           The annual scholarship recognition program salutes SRU students who have earned one or more of the University's 300 named scholarships. The Corporation for National Service recognizes community service scholars who have earned a 3.25 or higher grade-point average and who have volunteered a minimum of 100 hours of registered community service through SRU's Institute for Community, Service-Learning and Nonprofit Leadership.

           Campus academic honor societies will also be recognized.

           This year's speaker is a recipient of the SRU geography, geology and the environment department's Mike Starker Scholarship and Robert A. Davis Scholarship.

           Baker was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the campus honorary, in 2009. As one of the top 20 students in his sophomore, junior and senior classes, he is a three-year Presidential Scholar award honoree.

           When not involved in academic studies, Baker uses his free time for involvement with Campus Crusade for Christ and the Slippery Rock University Outdoors Adventure.

            Just out of high school, Baker started his own landscaping company. He has also served as a member of the program staff at Wesley Woods Camp in Grand Valley. At the camp he helped campers ages 6 to 17 develop their skills in a number of outdoor-related areas, including high ropes.

            He spent a summer in Anchorage, Alaska, handling landscape work and currently is an intern and employee of Wallace & Pancher Inc., in Hermitage. His duties include handling stream substrate sample rinsing and extraction along with sorting of benthic macroinvertebrates. He is involved in stream classification and macroinvertebrate sample collection specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. His work also involves flow monitoring and stream conditioning field data collection and database management of the data.

            He also uses his free time to practice the banjo and his woodworking skills, visit and camp at national parks and read American history books. 

            Baker' future plans following spring graduation include getting married in May, then enrolling in a master's degree program in environmental geography with the ultimate goal of one day teaching at the college level or opening his own environmental consulting firm.

           A reception will follow in the Grasstex area of the field house.


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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