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 SRU Hires Veteran Communicator as Executive Director of Public Relations 



Sept. 27, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854;



SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- Slippery Rock University President Robert Smith has named Rita Abent, a higher education marketing and communication administrator and former newspaper editor, to be SRU’s next executive director of public relations. She starts Oct. 30.

“Abent has more than 30 years experience in the marketing and communication field,” Smith said. “Most recently she served 10 years as executive director for marketing and communication at Eastern Michigan University where she is credited with helping design and implement the university’s first comprehensive enrollment marketing campaign and leading the effort to migrate communication from print to electronic media.”

 “I’m very excited about the opportunity at Slippery Rock University and am honored to be selected for this important leadership position,” Abent said. “I’m looking forward to working with President Smith, staff, faculty and students to help tell the SRU story in new and dynamic ways.”

She began her career at Eastern Michigan as director of student media and led the university’s independent student newspaper to its first Associated Press Sweepstakes Award and numerous five-star All-America ratings by the Associated Collegiate Press. In recognition of her leadership, the College Media Advisers, Inc. named Abent the National Adviser of the Year in 1987.

   At EMU, Abent provided leadership for the development of a Web communication office and supervised the institution’s first Web Style and Standards Guide. She also developed an e-newsletter and e-postcards as a means for increasing awareness among state legislators and other important constituents.

           “My passion for the value of higher education and my belief in the positive impact it can have in the life of an individual student, the community and the state is what drives me,” she said.

Abent served for two years as editor of the Hollywood Sun, a community newspaper in Hollywood, Fla. Under her leadership, the paper won numerous Florida Press Association awards for writing, editing, photography and design. During her tenure as editor, she led the efforts to launch community newspapers in several Florida communities.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University with a double major in journalism and physical education. She earned her master of arts in educational communication from Syracuse University.

           She is involved with number of community service groups, including the United Way, American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.

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