SRU honoring four distinguished alumni Oct. 13

Distinguished alumni

From left, the 2017 Slippery Rock University Distinguished Alumni Award winners are Merle Crawford, Elke Suber, Ron Hunt and Gail Paserba.

Oct. 5, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A quartet of notable Slippery Rock University graduates will be honored as Distinguished Alumni at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner, 6 p.m., Oct. 13 at the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center. The Distinguished Alumni Awards, given annually by the SRU Alumni Engagement Office, honor alumni that have distinguished themselves professionally and personally.

"When you do something that you're passionate about for so many years, you just do what needs to be done," said Gail Paserba, a 1990 SRU graduate with a degree in elementary education and one of this year's honorees. "For someone to say to you, 'Good job,' that's very overwhelming."

Joining Paserba as a DAA recipient are Merle Crawford '79; Ron Hunt '73, '75M; and Elke Suber '93.

"We're just so proud that we have so many wonderful alumni who we can recognize every year because they are such great representatives of the University," said Tracy Allison, assistant director of alumni engagement. "We were proud of them as students and then they go out into the world and make a difference through their service or their careers."

For Paserba, that means both "doing what needs to be done" and "doing the right thing," an instinct she compares to picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk and putting it in a bin.

Whether it was raising two sons or taking over her family's business after her husband passed away, Paserba not only did what needed done but achieved success along the way. She met her husband, Tom, when they were students at SRU in 1972 and chose to pause her academic pursuits when they married a year later. After returning to SRU nearly 15 years later and completing her degree, Paserba began a career in social services and education.

In 1995, Paserba and her husband started their own business, International Quality Consultants, providing quality control, inspection and training services to a wide variety of international companies from the nuclear, fossil fuel, renewable energy and transportation industries. After Tom's passing in 2013, Paserba became company president and continues to grow IQC as an industry leader in the quality services.

"SRU provided me that independence to learn time management and set priorities," Paserba said. "I had a good educational background and the self-confidence that I needed to step into a new, totally different world."

A resident of Butler, Paserba is heavily involved in her community as a trustee for Butler County Community College and a board member for organizations that include the Butler Health System's Foundation, Pine Richland Youth Center and The Endowment for Butler County.

Merle Crawford '79

Crawford is an expert in autism and early intervention who works with a variety of social service agencies and contracts with several counties in central Pennsylvania to work with infants and toddlers who have developmental delays.

A thought-leader who's dedicated her entire career to helping children and adults with disabilities, Crawford has co-authored two books, "Early Intervention Every Day!" and "Autism Intervention Every Day!"

A resident of Hummelstown, Crawford graduated from SRU with a bachelor's degree in special education and elementary education. She earned a master's degree in occupational therapy from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2004, and she has a graduate certificate in applied behavior analytics and a professional development certificate in autism from Penn State University. Crawford is a board certified behavior analyst, a certified infant massage instructor and a certified Early Start Denver Model therapist.

Additionally, she has been a guest reviewer for the Journal of Early Intervention and has presented at several conferences.

Crawford and her husband, Greg, are philanthropists to the University, having endowed a scholarship for special education majors, and are members of The 1889 Society, having a charitable gift annuity that benefits SRU now and in the future.

Ron Hunt '73, '75M

Hunt is a senior vice president and relationship manager of corporate banking at S&T Bank in Pittsburgh. He was previously a commercial lending executive at two other large regional banks where he collectively managed assets in excess of $3 billion for companies that compete in the mid-market and mid-corporate sectors.

A standout student-athlete in football and track and field at SRU, Hunt was inducted into the SRU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. He graduated from SRU with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education and a master's degree in administration and curriculum of health and physical education. He also earned a master of business administration from Penn State.

Hunt, who lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Karen, has always been one to stress the importance of giving back, as evident through his involvement in the communities he serves. He is the treasurer for the NEED Foundation, an organization that provides career and college access

services and scholarships for Pittsburgh area youth. He also serves on the board of directors for The Highmark Caring Foundation, which supports the needs of grieving children in Pennsylvania, the Mount Ararat Community Activity Center, the finance committee of the SRU Foundation Inc. and is involved with executive committee and capital campaigns for non-profit organizations, Rho Boule and Iota Phi Foundation.

Elke Suber '93

Suber is the assistant general counsel for Microsoft, leading the legal team that supports Microsoft's physical and digital stores around the world. The first African-American woman to ascend to her position at Microsoft, Suber has served a variety of roles in the company while showing a passion for issues related to technology, intellectual property and diversity.

In addition to her bachelor's degree in English/writing from SRU, Suber earned a juris doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996.

A resident of Kirkland, Washington, Suber serves as chair of the board of directors for the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association and she is a member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Board of Visitors. Additionally, she serves on the American Bar Association's Forum on the Entertainment and Sport Industries and is a sought-after speaker, having presented for the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association and American Law Institute.

Her honors include the 2011 Fellow of the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity and being named one of the National Bar Association and IMPACT's 2012 Nations Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers under 40. In 2017, she received the National Bar Association Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award.

To be nominated for the Distinguished Alumni Award, individuals must have graduated from SRU at least 10 years prior and translated their SRU experience into distinguished service in public, business, professional, education and philanthropy.

The Alumni Association's Awards Selection Committee reviewed nominations and chose the winners.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu