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 SRU senior continues family tradition, becomes fourth generation to earn degree from The Rock 



May 1, 2007
Contact: K.E. Schwab

Slippery Rock University graduate continues family tradition, becomes fourth generation to earn degree from The Rock


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - When Emily Watson walks across the platform at Slippery Rock University to receive her degree May 12, she'll continue a family tradition that dates back to 1913. Watson, an elementary education and special education major from Slippery Rock, will be the fourth generation in her family to graduate from SRU - just like her father, mother, grandfather, and great-grandfather before her. She is the fifth generation associated with SRU. Her great-great-grandfather was an original stockholder and trustee when plans for what was to become Slippery Rock University were first considered.

"It really is fun to think of all of the Watsons who have attended Slippery Rock University," Watson said.

In addition to the "family factor," Watson said she elected to attend SRU because of the strong reputation of its College of Education.

"I knew the teacher education program here was outstanding. It offers programs that prepare students for today's classrooms and to work in diverse environments. My own program allowed me to spend 12 weeks student teaching in an urban school setting plus an opportunity to student teach in Mexico," Watson said. She is currently doing a four-week student-teaching placement in Mexico. She was among 18 SRU students rousted from bed by a one-minute, 6.0 earthquake their first night abroad. None of the students were injured, but they will have an unexpected story to share when they return to campus May 9.

In looking over her family tree, Watson points out that her father, Robert Watson, graduated in 1970 from what was then Slippery Rock State College. He joined the SRU administration in 1972. After 33 years service, he retired as vice president for student life, but has returned to serve as co-interim vice president for University Advancement. Her mother, Karen McKeag Watson, graduated from SRSC in 1973 and still teaches fourth graders at Mercer Elementary School.

In 1940, grandfather John A. Watson received his bachelor's of science degree from what was then Slippery Rock State Teachers College, following in the footsteps of his father, and Emily's great-grandfather, Grove C. Watson, who received his degree in the teacher education program offered by Slippery Rock State Normal School in 1913. Great-great grandfather John N. Watson was among the then Centerville community residents - forerunner to the borough of Slippery Rock - to call for a community facility where young people could learn to be teachers.

The history of the University, "Slippery Rock State College: The Legend Behind the Name," was written by her father and a building in the new $110-million residence hall complex is named in his honor. The Watson Family Scholarship helps academically deserving SRU students.

Watson said she has made the most of her SRU education. "I've taken advantage of the University's international programs, including a semester's study in Australia as well as student leadership trips to London, Paris and Spain."

A student leader, she has been involved in Kappa Delta Phi, the education honorary; Lambda Epsilon Delta, the elementary education/early childhood honorary; Golden Key Honor Society; and Phi Kappa Phi, the national honorary at SRU.

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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