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 Alumna delivers address to SRU's largest graduating class 



May 1, 2007
Contact: K.E. Schwab

For photo of Martha Smith CLICK HERE


Alumna delivers address to SRU largest graduating class

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Martha A. Smith, president of Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland, and a 1970 Slippery Rock University graduate, will deliver the commencement address when the University awards more than 1,130 diplomas at May 12 ceremonies.

            The 11 a.m. event will be in N. Kerr Thompson Stadium, weather permitting. No tickets are required. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will move to Morrow Field House. Tickets for field house entrance have been distributed to all graduates.

            SRU President Robert Smith will present 40 diplomas to students receiving doctor of physical therapy degrees, 100 diplomas to those receiving master's degrees and 990 diplomas to those receiving bachelor's degrees. This is the largest graduating class in SRU's history.

            Martha Smith's address is titled "Get a Life."

           "I am pleased to be asked to be the speaker at my alma mater. I have very fond memories of my college days, including the chance as an undergraduate to join and lead a number of student organizations. I also credit SRU with setting my path in life, in large measure through my relationship with John Marshall, then dean of men, who served as my mentor," Martha Smith said.

           An undergraduate chemistry major, Smith said, "Being involved in a number of campus organizations, I had numerous opportunities to work with John. Following graduation, I continued my chemistry studies at the University of Hawaii while serving as a teaching assistant. I soon realized that, like my mentor, I wanted to be a dean of students. Fortunately, the University of Hawaii had a master of educational psychology program with a concentration in student personnel. After earning my doctorate, I began work in student services. In 1982, I was named dean of students at Anne Arundel Community College and was later was recommended to fill the presidency." 

           "I am where I am today because of my involvement in student activities and the influence of John Marshall at Slippery Rock University," she said.

           At SRU Smith was vice president of the Student Government Association, president of the residence hall government and a member of Kappa Delta, social sorority. "I remember the studies and the exams, but I also remember homecoming, and staying up all night building floats. The campus was truly my extended family," Smith said.

           Smith's SRU experiences have helped shape her presidency. Upon becoming the fifth president of AACC in 1994, Smith immediately focused her administration on putting students first. She has been recognized for her leadership, vision and commitment to students and to the community. 

           A member of the board of directors of the League for Innovation in the Community College, she recently began a three-year term on the board of directors of the American Council on Education.

           Smith was appointed by former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich to serve on the Maryland Education Council and as Maryland's representative to the Education Commission of the States. She serves on the Governor's Work Force Investment Board, the Institute for Community College Development board, the board of directors for Leadership Anne Arundel, and on the board for the Greater Baltimore Committee. 

            Her honors include the 2006 District Pacesetter of the Year Award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations and the Anne Arundel County Tech Council's 2005 Good Apple Award.  The Daily Record named Smith one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 1998, 2000 and 2002. She was named one of Anne Arundel County's First Women of Education by the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and in 2001 received the Community Trustee Award from Leadership Anne Arundel.

            After earning her bachelors of arts degree in chemistry from Slippery Rock University, she earned a masters of education in educational psychology from the University of Hawaii and a doctor of philosophy degree in higher education administration from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to becoming president at AACC, Smith was president of Dundalk Community College in Maryland for seven years.

            The ceremony will include administration of the oath of office to nine graduating Army ROTC seniors receiving their commissions as second lieutenants. 

            Suzanne Vessela, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees will deliver greetings on behalf of the trustees and Eric L. Holmes, a 1993 SRU graduate and president of the SRU Alumni Association, will induct graduates as association members.


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.

Editor's Note: A photo of Martha Smith is available at:
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