SRU alumnus establishes Unity Scholarship with $10,000 gift


people holding hands at sunset

A new scholarship established at Slippery Rock University supports underrepresented minority students from western Pennsylvania and students who have a parent that is a first responder.

July 2, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Reactions to the turbulent times we are facing - whether it be to the global pandemic or civil unrest in America - are as varied as the people being affected by them. For one Slippery Rock University graduate, Michael O'Hare, '74, the natural response was one of unity and generosity.

O'Hare, and his wife, Becky, recently donated $10,000 to SRU Foundation, Inc., to establish the "Unity at The Rock" Scholarship. The gift will provide two scholarships, each worth $1,250 per year for up to four years, to a pair of incoming freshmen this fall. The recipients will be chosen from applicants based on two criteria: one recipient will be an underrepresented minority student from western Pennsylvania, and another will be a student whose parent is a first responder.

Michael O'hare


"At a time when America is struggling with disharmony and angst, this is a perfect time to do something for others," said Michael O'Hare, a retired vice president at Snyder's of Hanover who now lives in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. "I learned from my wife that during unsettling times when you are feeling down, the best thing you can do is to help other people."

"We're grateful for alumni like Mike for supporting our students and inspiring others," said Samantha Swift, director of development for SRU Foundation, Inc. "The O'Hares are proud members of The Rock community and their generosity makes us stronger."

O'Hare grew up in Allegheny County and graduated from Deer Lakes High School before attending SRU where he earned a degree in elementary education. He has established multiple SRU scholarships, including gifts honoring his late first wife, his parents and his former high school football coach who is an SRU alumnus, the latter of which awarded $1,000 to 11 Deer Lakes graduates.

Those interested in helping to extend the "Unity at The Rock" Scholarship beyond fall 2020 can donate by contacting the SRU Foundation at 724.738.2047 or visiting A list of scholarship applications for SRU students is available on the Financial Aid webpage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |