SRU trustees honor Cavill, approve programs


wilma cavilll and the council of trustees

(From left) Trustees Matt Lautman, Tom Breth and Senator Mary Jo White, Wilma Cavill, SRU President Cheryl Norton, trustees William McCarrier, Jeff Smith and Suzanne Vessella.

Dec. 4, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's council of trustees concluded two days of discussions and presentations Dec. 4 by authorizing the University to send four new academic programs forward to Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education's board of governors for approval.

If approved by the BOG, the programs, a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Master of Music Therapy would begin fall 2016, while a Master of Science in Athletic Training would begin summer 2018. (See related story)

"These four programs continue the University's commitment to identifying and developing academic degree programs that meet market needs and will position our graduates now and in the future," SRU President Cheryl Norton said.

The COT began their regular business meeting by commending the SRU men's soccer team for capturing the league championship, and bestowing a Commendation of Service Award upon Wilma Cavill, an SRU professor of safety management who joined the University in 1958 and is retiring in January 2016. Cavill is the longest serving faculty member in the State System. Frank Brogan, State System chancellor, also issued a commendation recognizing Cavill's contributions and Norton awarded Cavill faculty emeritus status.

Council also viewed two training videos SRU students Brandon Lombardo of New Castle and Jacob Miller of Cranberry Township produced for MSA as part of their internships.

In other action, the council reviewed University financial statements, including the quarterly financial report and then approved compliance contracts, fixed assets, services and supply purchase orders.

The COT heard from David Jacobson, an auditor with CliftonLarsonAllen, the University's external auditors, that the firm had issued a "clean opinion having found no material weaknesses" regarding the University's financial operations. "This is the highest level of approval issued," Jacobson said.

The SRU Foundation presented information about residence suites bond refinancing and development updates. Ed Bucha, executive director of the Foundation, told the Board they had worked with SRU finance and administration staff to secure a $120 million bond through the USDA Rural Community Development Program to refinance the residence suite debt.

"This is a win-win proposal," Bucha said. "By refinancing the debt, we will save $19.6 million in debt service payments over the course of the loan, which translates into $810,000 annually. These surplus funds will allow us to provide more scholarships to students and maintain reasonable lease rates in the suites."

Sen. Mary Jo White, chair of the BOG, commended the Foundation and administration for pursuing refinancing and achieving such a favorable outcome.

As part of routine business activities, the council received reports from each of its standing committees as well as informational items dealing with facilities and planning projects and personnel appointments that included instructional, tactical leadership, operational leadership, grant-funded, non-faculty and support staff.

The council's next meeting will be March 17-18, 2016.

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