SRU trustees honor former members and approve naming of Strain Safety Building rooms


Old Main

Sept. 24, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — At its quarterly business meeting, the Slippery Rock University council of trustees today honored two former members with the presentation of commendations to Sen. Mary Jo White and Thomas Breth while also approving naming rights to various rooms within the Strain Safety Building.

White served on the council for six years, 2013-19. A member of the Pennsylvania Senate from 1997-2012, she earned a bachelor's degree from Quincy University in 1963 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh in 1967. During her professional career, White served as a public defender in Venango County, an attorney with the Dale Woodward Law Firm and was a former vice president for environment/government affairs with the Quaker State Corporation.

Mary Jo White


Breth, a University trustee from 2012-19, is a 1988 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a 1992 graduate of Capital University Law School. He has been with the Dillon, McCandless, King, Coulter and Graham law firm since 1995, becoming a partner in 2012. He practices primarily in the areas of education law, labor law and litigation. He currently provides legal services as solicitor, labor counsel, special counsel and/or special education counsel to numerous school districts in western and central Pennsylvania.

"Both Mary Jo and Tom devoted time and effort to bettering the council and the University during their time as trustees," said Matt Lautman, council chair. "They brought their professional expertise and invaluable input to the table and often asked the insightful and tough questions in order to increase understanding and make sure we were on the right track. It was an honor to serve with each of them and they will be missed."

"I thank the council for the opportunity to have served such a wonderful University," said White. "During my time on the council I served alongside four presidents with each one bringing new energy and ideas that kept the institution moving forward. From the transformations of the Strain Safety Building and the Harrisville Building to the soon-to-be completed Performing Arts Center, SRU is something that we can all be proud of as it continues to remain strong and ahead of our peers through its strong enrollment and academic programming. Being a trustee was a truly gratifying experience."

Tom Breth


The council also approved resolutions to name Rooms 201 and 106 of the Strain Safety Building, the Falcon Power Consultants Classroom and Falcon Power Consultants Administrative Suite, respectively, as well as Room 204 of that same building, the New Pig Classroom.

In June 2020, Falcon Power Consultants pledged to provide Arc Flash Awareness Training and SRU-specific case studies to the University during the next five years, an in-kind gift totaling $204,950. These materials and training will provide SRU safety management students with a unique and desirable background as they enter the workforce. Based in Cranberry Township, Falcon's mission is to "partner with clients to establish high quality, cost effective electrical engineering solutions through outstanding design, workmanship and customer service." Their clients include PPG, PepsiCo and Kellogg's, to name a few.

In order to ensure SRU safety management students are educated about and trained on the latest state-of-the-art absorbents, spill control and handling, and plant safety products, New Pig Corporation has donated $112,187 in equipment and online training by students in the Hazardous Material & Waste Management class. Founded in Tipton in 1985, New Pig is one of the world's leading absorbents brands and has been the recipient of more than 30 plant engineering product of the year awards.

Through its standing committees, the trustees received:

  • An update on new Title IX regulations from Holly McCoy, assistant vice president for diversity and equal opportunity.
  • An academic affairs planning update from Abbey Zink, provost and chief academic affairs officer, that included a review of upgraded classroom technologies and a review the new Rock Learning Now webpages.
  • An academic programming update from Carrie Birckbichler, chief data officer, that included a review of enrollments as it pertains to the University's 25 newest and market-driven programs and proposed program development during the next two to five years.
  • An enrollment update from Amanda Yale, chief enrollment officer, including a review of SRU's fall 2020 numbers that included a record number of graduate students.
  • A presentation from Rebecca D'Imperio and Sam Galanek of Sightlines regarding the University's facility asset management status.
  • An update on administrative affairs from Amir Mohammadi, senior vice president for administration, global engagement and economic development.
  • A financial review from Molly Mercer, chief financial officer, that included an explanation of pandemic-related financial impacts and uses of CARES Act funding as well as a presentation of the University's 2020-21 budget.
  • A review of personnel items from Lynne Motyl, chief human resources officer.
  • Quarterly reports from the Slippery Rock University Foundation Inc. and the Alumni Association.
  • An update on the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees from Jeff Smith, SRU trustee.
  • Informational items pertaining to the University calendar and trustee bylaws.

The council's next meeting is Dec. 10-11.

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