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Slippery Rock University Magazine Winter 2017

Mission of Mercy


View from the

ROCK Dear Friends,

Cheryl Norton, president

2 The ROCK

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WINTER 2017 Volume 19, Number 1

THE

June 2017 will mark five years that Henry and I have been privileged to be part of the Slippery Rock University community. During that time, we’ve had many opportunities for celebration and faced a number of challenges. But, despite these challenges, this institution has continued to move forward. Despite the economic issues plaguing Pennsylvania, SRU has thrived. We are financially stable. Despite the decreasing number of high school graduates in Western Pennsylvania, our enrollment has reached an all time high. In response to changing work force needs in the region, SRU has reinvented itself, growing our graduate programs to include a doctorate in special education, the physician assistant degree and a master in public health. We have also developed new and innovative undergraduate options such as homeland security, corporate security, the BFA in dance, and, of course, engineering. We are indeed a public institution that exists for the good of the public. And the public is richer because of Slippery Rock University. Our students have attained record high levels of retention and graduation rates, the first SRU student was selected as a prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholar, in 2014 University Advancement cash donations set a record, last year our institution was awarded Green Ribbon status by the Department of Education – one of only 11 schools in the country to be so honored. And, four years ago, SRU, for the first time in its history, had the highest ranking in the State System’s Performance Indicators initiative. An achievement we’ve repeated two more times in the last three years, including this year. Our degree programs are recognized nationally. We have been ranked in the top four publics in Pennsylvania and in the top 150 in the country. We have much to celebrate. I said in June 2012 that SRU is an institution rich in its history, strong in its roots and with unlimited potential for the future. Our history continues to be written, our roots are spread across the globe by everyone who has or is currently working and contributing to the institution and we are just scratching the surface of our unlimited potential. Slippery Rock University has never been in a stronger position. It is for all of these reasons that the following announcement is not made easily, but given after much thought and consideration. Henry and I have decided that it is time for me to announce my retirement as president of Slippery Rock University, effective June 30, 2017. We will be returning to our home in Denver to enjoy retirement with our family, being grandparents to our grandsons, perhaps competing in a few more triathlons and certainly spending more time dog training. And, on August 21st, in celebration of our 46th wedding anniversary, we‘ll be watching the solar eclipse from a mountaintop in Wyoming. It has been my honor and privilege to serve you as your president. You have taught me much and I appreciate the lessons. To our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, thank you for your genuine love for this institution, its students and belief in the value of education – for we can only achieve what we believe. May the sun always shine at Slippery Rock.

8 A CTION

In this issue

11 2017 SRU Calendar

39 H ave ‘Mercy’

www.sru.edu Slippery Rock University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Slippery Rock University is committed to a policy of affirmative action. Slippery Rock University assures an equal opportunity to all persons without regard to race, color, religion, creed, disability, ancestry, national origin, age, gender or veteran’s status in accordance with the state and federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


Council of Trustees:

Matthew Lautman, chair Jeffrey Smith, vice chair William McCarrier, secretary Alfonso Angelucci Thomas Breth Matt Shaner Robert Taylor Monica Traggiai Suzanne Vessella Sen. Mary Jo White Richard Wukich

President Cheryl Norton

Cabinet •P  hilip Way Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs •A  mir Mohammadi Vice President for Finance, Administrative Affairs and Advancement Services •R  ita Abent Executive Director of Communication and Public Affairs •T  ina Moser Chief of Staff

Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

Cynthia Shapira, chair David Maser Aaron Walton Sen. Ryan Aument Rep. Matthew Baker Audrey Bronson Secretary of Policy and Planning Sarah Galbally Rep. Michael Hanna Donald Houser Jonathan Mack Barbara McIlvaine Smith Daniel Meuser Thomas Muller Guido Pichini Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera Sen. Judy Schwank Harold Shields Governor Tom Wolf

Frank Brogan, Chancellor Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education

Academic Leadership •L  awrence Shao Dean, College of Business •K  eith Dils Dean, College of Education • J erry Chmielewski Interim Dean, College of Health, Environment and Science • J ennifer Keller Interim Dean, College of Liberal Arts

The ROCK The ROCK is published three times annually by the Office of University Communication and Public Affairs for alumni and friends of the University. Send address changes to: Slippery Rock University University Communication and Public Affairs 104 Maltby Avenue, Suite 201 Slippery Rock, PA 16057

42 Gone Sailing

44 “Whoa Nelly”

CREDITS Executive Editor: Rita Abent, executive director, University Communication and Public Affairs. Editor: Robb King, associate executive director, University Communication and Public Affairs. Designer: Sandy Busch, graphic communication director, University Communication and Public Affairs; Jamie Mulac, Chenoa Gregory and Tyler Sing, student designers. Contributors: Gordon Ovenshine, communication specialist; Karl Schwab. Photographers: Aaron Moore, digital design director; Gordon Ovenshine, communication specialist; University Communication and Public Affairs; Alumni Relations; SRU alumni; and Jamie Green, ’16. The Rock is an Educational Advertising, Collegiate Advertising and CUPRAP (Cuppie) award winner.

ABOUT THE COVER: Michelle Erwin, a 2012 Slippery Rock University graduate with a doctorate in physical therapy, has traveled the globe making a difference in the lives of her patients. With stops in 10 foreign countries, Erwin is on a mission to improve the mentality, physicality and spirituality of those with whom she works. Her latest venture is working with Mercy Ships, an international faith-based organization “bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.” (See story page 39). Cover photo by Miguel Ottaviano.

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BYTES

‘SIMPLY THE BEST’:

SRU grabs awards for excellence

We’ve got an accolade for that

No matter if it is academic quality, the value of the education, the institutional environment, the community or successful outcomes for its students, Slippery Rock University has earned an award for it. It’s enough to make one’s choice of which institution of higher education to attend a no brainer, while providing proof positive for those already enrolled at the University or those who have graduated from SRU that they made a “rock solid” choice. One needn’t look further than a quintet of recent honors bestowed upon the University for proof, including: • “Best Regional University – North”: According to U.S. News & World Report, SRU ranks among the top 100 regional universities in the North, which includes those universities in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. • “A College of Distinction”: Collegesofdistinction.com cited engaged students, great teaching and a vibrant community in naming SRU a national “College of Distinction;” a Pennsylvania “College of Distinction; and a Public “College of Distinction.” To be designated a “College of Distinction,” a school’s curriculum must emphasize core competencies such as critical thinking, writing, oral skills, research and global perspectives. The institution must also offer dynamic out-of-classroom learning and study abroad programs. • “A School of Distinction”: SRU earned 52 badges of distinction including 33 “best value” designations ranging from “Best for the Money” in Pennsylvania to “Best for the Money without Aid” nationwide from College Factual, a data-driven college choice resource, in

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ratings released by USA Today. College Factual awards badges to those universities that finish in the top one percent, five percent, 10 percent and 15 percent of each of the categories being evaluated. SRU earned 12 badges in the top five percent; 15 badges in the top 10 percent and 25 in the top 15 percent. • “Best Colleges and Universities”: SRU earned a national spot among the best colleges and universities according to the inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. The WSJ/THE rankings include a total of 1,061 institutions nationwide. Developed in partnership with university leaders and associations, the U.S. Department of Education and leading industry figures, the rankings used a balanced scorecard approach. Fifteen individual performance metrics were used, grouped into four pillars representing: resources, engagement, outcomes and environment. • “Top Colleges and Universities”: On the strength of its fall 2016 undergraduate enrollment of 7,664, SRU was ranked third among the Top Colleges and Universities by the Pittsburgh Business Times. This is the second year in a row that SRU has captured the No. 3 slot. The ranking continues to recognize a record-setting year for enrollment at SRU, which announced the largest enrollment in the institution‘s 127year history - 8,881 students - in September. As many students will attest, one of the reasons why they love SRU is because of the people who work here. It’s no wonder then why one of the top trade publications for colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education, once again recognized the University as one of the nation‘s “Great Colleges to Work For,” and the Pittsburgh Business Times named it one of the “Healthiest Employers in Western Pennsylvania.”

The Sierra Club, one of the oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the U.S., named SRU among its Top 125 “Cool Schools.” SRU was the only institution from Pennsylvania‘s State System of Higher Education to make the Sierra Club‘s list as one of 2016‘s greenest universities. The Princeton Review named SRU as one of the “Top 353 Green Schools” in its 2017 Guide to Green Schools, and the University captured the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Award; one of only 11 colleges and universities in the nation so honored. Both MONEY magazine and the ETC College Ranking Index have named SRU among the top “best value” universities nationally. Bestvalueschools.com named the University as one of the “Top 30 Best Value Colleges in Pennsylvania.” Other feathers in SRU’s cap include being named among the: Top 10 College Dorms in America; Top 150 Best Public Colleges in America; Top 50 of America’s Best Small Town Colleges; Best Colleges in the Northeast; Military Friendly University; one of the top 15 universities nationally for improving graduation rates and closing the gap between underrepresented and white students; ranked among the top universities nationally for providing the best educational experience; and ranked 15th among the nation‘s 30 safest college towns. It’s all part of a perfect storm of dedication, caring and inclusion that propel SRU, its faculty, staff – and most importantly – its students, to being “simply the best.”

All for a good “gauze” Slippery Rock University students, staff, faculty and Slippery Rock and Harrisville community members came together with local and state dignitaries to officially dedicate the Harrisville Building, home of the SRU physician assistant program, Sept. 23. The 24-month program readies students to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses and provide treatment under the supervision of a doctor or surgeon.


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FILE

University salutes military Prior to Slippery Rock University‘s Oct. 8 “Military Appreciation” football game versus Mercyhurst, the SRU ROTC cadets hosted a display of military equipment in the Mihalik-Thompson Stadium parking lot. Included in the event were an IAV (Interim Armored Vehicle) Stryker, which is an eight-wheeled, armored fighting vehicle and a rock-climbing wall. Many in attendance, including SRU President Cheryl Norton, toured the vehicle and scaled the wall while visiting with cadets and veterans. At halftime, the University recognized a pair of fallen SRU ROTC graduates and their families. Norton presented SRU pins and flowers to the “Gold Star” families of the late Army Capt. Jason West and Army 2nd Lt. Christopher Loudon during a special ceremony. The tribute marked the 10th anniversary of the soldiers‘ combat deaths. The University then marked Veterans Day with a pair of events Nov. 11, beginning with a breakfast in honor and remembrance of military veterans. A Veterans Day Ceremony followed as alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered to hear remarks from Norton and a keynote address from State Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., a former Marine. The event also featured a 21-gun salute, the laying of a wreath, the playing of taps and songs by the SRU Chamber Singers.

SRU English instructor in hunt for Pulitzer Prize Timothy Ruppert, a Slippery Rock University instructor of English, has had his two-act play, “The Consorts,” nominated for a 2017 Pulitzer Prize. “The Consorts” premiered last April in a production by Duquesne University‘s Red Masquers as part of the inaugural season for Duquesne‘s Genesius Theatre Summer Company. The play is set in 1556 England, in the jail cell of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, who awaits execution the following morning. As a leader of England‘s Reformation, and the man who unburdened Henry VIII of Catherine of Aragon and secured him Anne Boleyn, Cranmer is to be burned alive for heresy. Resigned to his fate, the archbishop learns of a way to save himself, but in order to do so, he must renounce his God to live or stand by his principles and die. Columbia University awards the Pulitzer Prize in Drama annually on the recommendation of The Pulitzer Prize Board, which acts on the nominations of a distinguished committee of Pulitzer Drama Jurors. The award is announced each spring with the winner taking home a $10,000 award in addition to a Pulitzer Prize medal.

Our apologies:

Carolyn (Brattin) Greco Vernotzy, ’70 Bachelor of Arts, Spanish HOME:

Houston, Texas.

PROFESSION:

President/CEO of FACET and LINGUA Training and Translation Services.

HOBBIES:

We love to travel and that’s a good thing as both family (two adult sons) and business afford us many opportunities to see the country. We are avid readers, music lovers and socializers.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

After graduating, I earned my master of arts in Spanish at the University of Louisiana and began teaching. Wanting to get into business, I founded LINGUA, a language translation and interpreting company serving the oil and gas business. I opened FACET in 1981. FACET is a management consulting firm providing a unique brand of classic, proactive and personal support to individuals and groups through outplacement, search and rescue (coaching) services. My husband, Richard, is a petroleum engineer. Because of his job, we moved to Houston in 1990.

WHY I GIVE:

I strive to make a positive change in another person’s journey, struggle and life. My biggest and sole reward is hoping – and sometimes knowing – that I have made a significant contribution to get someone to where they want to be. I believe we are all here to help one another and that we must pass it forward. 

The name of former Slippery Rock University men’s soccer coach Jim Egli was misspelled on page 24 of our Fall 2016 edition.

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FILE

Andy Major, ’88 and Sherry (Schroeder) Major, ’89 Bachelor of Arts, Communication HOME:

Orchard Park, New York

SRU math majors calculate network solutions for the Pentagon

Former high-level military minds aren’t the only brains being tapped for consultant services by the U.S. government. Two Slippery Rock University mathematics majors have found themselves among those whose knowledge is being used by the Department of Defense. Alexander Barclay of Saegertown and John Yannotty of Butler have constructed a computer network solution that could potentially save the U.S. Department of

SRU names 2016 Distinguished Alumni

PROFESSIONS:

Sherry owns her own media and public relations consulting company, while Andy serves as vice president of operations and guest experience for the Buffalo Bills.

HOBBIES:

Family activities, sports events and visiting the beach with a good sunset and bottle of wine.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

Professionally, Sherry received a lifetime achievement award from Women in the Golf Industry; while Andy has a pair of World Series championship rings from his time with the Florida Marlins and is working for the NFL team he grew up rooting for, the Buffalo Bills. Personally, the Majors count their marriage and raising three “amazing kids” – Rami, Billy and Rachael – as their greatest accomplishments.

Defense up to $7 million per year through the consolidation or elimination of DSL network circuits that support Pentagon employee cell phones and other technology usage. Their research stemmed from a real world problem-solving assignment from a spring 2016 “Introduction to Operations Research” class taught by Christy Crute, associate professor of mathematics. Barclay, whose father works at the Pentagon, helped the pair connect with operations research professionals to acquire a network data set for their study. Army brass was so impressed with the pair they are investigating future internship opportunities for the students at Fort Meade in Maryland. The installation houses the Defense Information School, the Defense Media Activity, the U.S. Army Field Band and serves as the headquarter of the U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the Defense Courier Service and the Defense Information Systems Agency.

DistinguishedAlumni 2 016

What do a health care CEO, a radio person­ ality, a retired education professor and a Butler County public servant all have in common? They all graduated from Slippery

Rock University before launching successful careers and have been named as 2016 Distinguished Alumni by the SRU Alumni Engagement Office. The quartet, which includes: David Boucher, ’80, chief executive officer of UCI Medical Affiliates in South Carolina; Mark “Razz” Radziewicz, ’85, a radio broadcaster in Philadelphia; Herb Hunt, ’67, ’72, retired SRU professor of elementary education; and William O‘Donnell, ’78, Slippery Rock magistrate, were honored Oct. 21 at an awards dinner at the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center.

WHY THEY GIVE:

“Because we love The Rock,” said Andy Major. SRU introduced the couple to what they said was “a solid, well-rounded education that gave us confidence, experience and provided us with a fun social atmosphere.” A former Rock football player, Andy said the program gave him brothers for life and taught him leadership and teamwork. "All of our Slippery Rock experiences led us to the fun sports careers and life we are blessed to enjoy. The Rock is a special place for us and continues to be an outstanding university that we know provides students with everything they need to be successful. We will always be proud alumni,” he said.

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Spook-tacular In the spirit of Halloween, Slippery Rock University had a real “treat” for everyone’s pumpkin carving pleasure. Student designer Tyler Sing, a senior art major from Pittsburgh, created the University a quintet of jack-o’-lantern stencils including: “Dawn of SRU,” “Batty about The Rock,” “Rock Raven,” “SRU Diablo” and “The Walking SRU.” Downloading the stencils wasn’t “tricky” at all, as all were made available through the University’s website. With only a few clicks, pumpkin carvers around the world were able to “brew” up some Halloween fun, SRU-style.


University Bookshelf

SRU’s Snyder pens ‘What is a Veteran, Anyway?’

Heheheheheheee – WHITE O-O-OUT! Rock Nation was loud and proud Sept. 24 as throngs of SRU faithful turned out for the annual “White Out” football game. SRU defeated visiting Gannon University 34-13.

Robert Snyder, SRU professor of elementary education, has written a children’s book, “What is a Veteran, Anyway?” to explain the veteran experience. Drawing on his own experience as a soldier in the U.S. Army, as well as an educator, Snyder said he wrote the book for teachers, parents and children. “It emphasizes what veterans go through on a daily bases in a simple-toread format,” said Snyder. “Most importantly, it was written based on my 15 years of service in the U.S. Army, including a one-year tour in Iraq.” Snyder, a 1992 graduate of the ROTC program at SRU, served in 2003-04 as the operations officer for the 400th Military Police Battalion in Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The book is available on Amazon.com

k c o r e h t

2016 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend

Homecoming Weekend 2016

With temperatures in the 40s and umbrellas the order of the day, Mother Nature tried her best to put a damper on the Oct. 22 SRU Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. Her efforts were fruitless as alumni, students, staff, family and friends enjoyed the parade, variety of events and catching up with friends. Josh Strom, a senior from Jeannette, and Tori Hill, a junior from Homestead, as king and queen.

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From combat to films, SRU ROTC grad is in the mix 8

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etired U.S. Army Col. Hans Bush, a member of Slippery Rock University’s first Army ROTC commissioning class, has seen combat operations around the world, including those in Haiti, Panama, South American, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan along with other countries during his U.S. Special Forces officer service, but that combat is rivaled by the non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action in the latest two-hour Tom Cruise “Jack Reacher” adventure film where Bush used his expertise as the military adviser. The Paramount Pictures sequel “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” hit movie theaters nationwide in October. Tom Cruise has the title role for the second time and serves as executive producer for the PG13 rated film. The two-hour movie is designed to draw those who enjoy action, adventure and crime with a twisting plotline as the good guy, a retired Army major (Cruise), seeks justice for all through almost never-ending fistfights, body slams, kicks, arm twists, fatal head butts, deadly strangulations, bone-breaking karate chops, gunfire – and frequent explosions: There are also car crashes. The Reacher films are based on Lee Child’s novels, with the original film released in 2012. “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is not Col. Bush’s first entry into major motion pictures. While still active in 2007, he served as a military adviser for the hit movie “Lone Survivor,” the autobiographical story of how U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and fellow Navy SEALs attempted the 2005 capture of Taliban leader Ahmad Shah in Afghanistan. Luttrell, who detailed his life at a packed 2014 SRU Program Board lecture in Morrow Field House, was the mission’s only survivor. The Academy Award-winning film version starred Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell, along with Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch. Explaining how his second career came about, the 1985 SRU communication graduate said, “The guy that I worked with in ‘Lone Survivor,’ and who provides civilian military trainers for films, contacted me. He is a retired Navy SEAL named Harry Humphries. His company does a lot of work in the movies. We worked together on ‘Lone Survivor’ and got along great. We became friends over the

years, and he said, ‘When you retire, I am going to reach out.’ I said, ‘That sounds good to me.’ So, I retired in August 2015, and about a month later he called saying, ‘I think I have some work for you. Can you come to New Orleans and meet some guys?’” Bush, who is also a master’s degree graduate of the U.S. Army War College, quickly flew to New Orleans to meet with “Reacher” director Edward Zwick and Cruise. After a brief interview, he was hired and went right into pre-production training with the principle actors. “Once the decision was made that the project was a ‘go,’ I was sent a script and what are called ‘blue lines’ that project the production schedule. Casting was working with us, so we had a pretty good idea of who was being picked to play each character, and how I could help them prepare,” Bush said. Although well organized, the production still took six months with

most scenes shot in and around New Orleans. Offices and interior locations were created at converted soundstage facilities once used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “In pre-production training, we worked in concert with other units,” Bush said. Military Tech Advisor Hans Bush on the set of Jack “There was training in Reacher: Never Go Back from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. a number of areas. We Photo Credit: David James had second-unit guys, © 2016 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. stunt guys and we were working with all of the film’s actors. My role specifically was to help the actors step into the character of a military officer; and not just a military officer, often the role of a commander over a subordinate. I promoted the idea of how everybody changes when something goes wrong in a given situation and maybe the commander is no longer in command. So dealing with these kinds of nuances is where we spent a good amount of time in role-playing and scenario work prior to actual filming. There was also the standard military block and tackling, such as how to wear the uniform; how to do the customs and courtesies; standard drills; and how to wear the beret – and not look horrible.” “For the most part, the preproduction work was with the principle actors, including Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders. The training continued throughout the entire production because as we moved through each part of production, extras and other actors would come onto the set and perform – then move on. Anytime we had new folks coming in, we had to do training,” he said.

“Basically in this kind of a project, it is a movie, not a documentary, so my role is to guide and be available as a ready resource. My role is not to put my foot down and say, ‘This is the way it has got to be.’ If I took that approach it would not be successful,” Bush said, adding, “And I would not be around very long.” “The best solution, I think, is to work ahead of time to spot potential problems. I go through the script and the narratives and spot minor corrections. Those corrections were made in a series of very conversational meetings and in professional dialogue. I don’t recall a single time on the set where I felt I had to leap out of my seat and run somebody down because of an error. My seat was right next to the director and for one thing, when you are on set and working with him, you have headphones on, you have

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Bush (second row, fourth from left) with the 1984 SRU Army ROTC commissioning class.

screens going in front of you and you have a pretty tight collection of senior folks around. So it is not too different from working with senior officers in a military setting. And, having worked at the Pentagon, I had learned how to do what the military calls ‘lead up’ – in other words, provide leadership even though you are lower rank than the person you are providing it to. ‘Lead up’ is a very good skill to have in this line of work,” he said. All of his efforts paid off: The line “Hans Bush, military adviser” appears in the movie’s credits seen about two-hours-seven-minutes into the film, just before “The End.” “Once your name gets added at the end as a technical adviser you get feedback. I have already enjoyed feedback and the good news is that it has been mostly very good, because the studio and the leadership making the movie took the military characters right,” he said. Bush’s military training was varied. In addition to his combat service, he has served as an instructor at Ranger School and for the Special Forces Qualification Course. He has also worked in Army Public Affairs and in information operations and counter propaganda, communication planning integration, served as both director and chief of public affairs and in a host of other related positions. “Years after my combat service, I was brought back as an instructor. I also served as a military adviser to an assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon, and that really gave that kind of top to bottom, bottom to top spread that is very helpful,” Bush said. “Ed Zwick, the film’s director, and I had a very good relationship, because from the very beginning, in our very first meeting, he empowered me, he said, ‘I know you are the military guy, and if you think there is something to correct or modify then you have my blessing.’ It was really a good way to go. We had that understanding right from the beginning,” Bush said. “Tom Cruise was always very professional, very clear, and I really enjoyed working with him. His presence was more than that of an actor; you could tell he was the executive producer. He was very much a senior leader in the production.” The retired colonel did not recall any scene that he requested be reshot, but adds, “I will tell you there were many, many reshoots for a variety of other reasons, and what I would do when that happened is see the opportunity to share refinements with the director. ” Still, Bush remembers, “There were plenty of ‘gentle adjustments’ throughout the course of production, and I would say that in a full day of shooting where we had characters in military uniform there were plenty of corrections, everything from how to wear the headgear indoors; headgear outdoors; walking with a cell phone in your hand; getting into and out of cars; and moving through security points. Many things were

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at the level of detail that you can’t write into the script. You can’t get at all of it. It is more choreography.” “I did learn something important on this project that will have a payoff down the road,” he said. “It is called the ‘Rule of 5000.’ And that is if you are a technical adviser on set and hired to provide that skill, as you see the scenes formed up, you see the characters and you see the director providing direction all unfolding in front of you, you are there to be really, really zeroed in on the technical side of what you were hired for. If something happens that is so obvious that more than 5,000 out of 1 million viewers would be at a theater and go ‘Oh No! Did you see what that guy just did?,’ you obviously have to recommend a change to the director. But, if that number is well below 5,000 for a major movie, then that is really not worth interrupting the flow.” “Working on the film was exciting and interesting all in one, but that does not mean there were not long days. There were long days and a lot of repetition to get things right. But full disclosure – it was a riot, I was excited every day to get up; I could not wait to get on set; and I was excited to work with the folks I was working with. I am a huge movie fan,” Bush said. “TV and movie production was my emphasis at The Rock, which is really how all of this got going. When in college, I was My role specifically either going to go into Army Special Forces, or I was going to be a stunt man in movies. was to help the That was it. Going through Army ROTC at actors step into SRU helped me refine that goal. It occurred the character of to me I could have a great time as a Green a military officer; Beret. I am glad I made that choice. But as a result of the line of work, in the Army and not just a you have to have a secondary specialty military officer, as an officer, and because my degree at often the role of a Slippery Rock was communication and TV and movie production, the Army designated commander over a my secondary to be ‘public affairs.’ So subordinate. they sent me to training, and I did jobs in that area between my time with Special Forces and that was how I got assigned to ‘Lone Survivor’ and eventually how I got brought in, now retired, to doing military advising in movies,” he said. Bush recalls being recruited by The Rock from his New York high school by William “Bill” Lennox, SRU’s now-retired track and field coach, former athletic director and for whom the SRU track at the MihalikThompson Stadium Complex is named. “Coach Lennox was a big influence. I was a pole-vaulter. The track team reached out to me, and once on the team that pretty much filled my day. The other major influence at The Rock that stands out was a crusty ROTC captain named William Cloyd. He was my first professor of military science. He really took us under his wing. I don’t think there is any single person who had a bigger impact.” he said. “I was just up at Slippery Rock a few months ago. We did a 30th ROTC reunion. We were the very first Army ROTC class to be commissioned at Slippery Rock University. Of the class, eight or 10 came to the reunion, and it was a combined commissioning ceremony for 11 new second lieutenants along with the military retirement of one of my classmates, Col. Michael Brobeck, ’85. ROTC is probably the number one reason I graduated. They made it clear I needed to be a good student,” Bush said. Since “Jack Reacher,” Bush has offered consulting work for a CBS pilot that has not yet been picked up and some remote technical support for the fifth “Transformer’s” movie. He is awaiting call on another film being considered for production and hopes to know by year’s end. Bush and his wife, Maribel, now make their home in Tampa, Fla. The couple has three grown sons, with the youngest, a member of the Florida National Guard, now completing his degree at the University of Central Florida.

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SLIPPERY ROCKy

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As I travel around the country meeting alumni and friends, I often tell them if they haven’t been to Slippery Rock University in the past five years, they haven’t been to Slippery Rock. Following the building boom of the early 2000’s, we’ve renovated outdated classrooms into high-tech learning and study spaces, addressed structural issues in our historical buildings and “botoxed” the campus with strategic and environmentally friendly landscaping and a new campus signage program. All of these initiatives have enhanced and changed the face of campus and earned SRU national recognition for our efforts. One of the things Henry and I will miss most when I retire June 30, 2017 is living on what we call, “a beautiful park with educational facilities.” Slippery Rock University is indeed a gem. I hope as you use this calendar, which showcases 12 “Rock picture perfect” spots on campus, you’ll recall your days at SRU and be encouraged to come back to visit. It has been Henry’s and my honor to serve as your first family for the past five years. There will always be a special place in our hearts for THE ROCK. Best wishes for a great 2017. Cheryl Norton, president

Dear friends,

C h e r yl

SLIPPERY ROCK Norton


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Presidential Inauguration Day

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February 2017

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The Rock Waterfall adjacent to Bailey Library is a familiar “photo spot” for special ceremonies. Student Government Association gifted the waterfall to the University in 2003.

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January 2017

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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New Year’s Day

FIRST

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

SUNDAY SUNDAY


WEDNESDAY THURSDAY

20

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FRIDAY

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Groundhog Day

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Valentine’s Day

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January 2017

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February 2017

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Presidents’ Day

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The Student Government Association Pavilion, erected in 2008, provides a sheltered venue for ceremonies and student activities in the Quad.

NEW

TUESDAY

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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Super Bowl

MONDAY

1 2 3 4

SUNDAY


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WEDNESDAY THURSDAY

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14

Vincent Science Center offers state-of-the art classroom and laboratory space for science and health education. Vincent was re-opened in 2011 following a three-year renovation. A planetarium provides heavenly views.

26

SRU Spring Break Ends

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FRIDAY

SATURDAY

29

22

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March 2017

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SRU Spring Break Begins Daylight Saving Time Begins

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May 2017

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Tax Day

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Arbor Day

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Summer/Fall Registration Ends

Earth Day

29

22

Spring blossoms accentuate stately Old Main. The administration building, constructed in 1893, is the oldest structure on campus.

Passover Ends

Arbor Day

April 2017

30

23

Easter Sunday

16

Passover Begins

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Summer/Fall Registration Begins

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

31

24

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WEDNESDAY THURSDAY

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Cinco De Mayo

29

28 30

23

16

The Advanced Technology and Science Hall provides a “green” background for those entering campus via Kiester Road. The facilities and planning department has been recognized for its campuswide landscaping initiatives.

Memorial Day

22

15

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Final Exams Begin

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April 2017

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June 2017

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Slippery Rock University, the University known ‘round the world, incorporated as a teacher-educator “normal” school in 1889.

24 Ramadan Ends

Passover Ends

June 2017

25 26 27 28 29 30

19

Flag Day

1 1 12 13 14 15 16 17

D-Day

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The Sally Jackson Lennox ’59 Patio was added to the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center in 2008. The alumni house honors the late Russell Wright, a 1923 graduate and former team physician for Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers.

July 2017

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MONDAY MONDAY

Built in 1938, North Hall is the oldest residence hall on campus. Admission counselors and student “pride guides” use the Welcome Center for meetings with prospective students.

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July 2017

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30

The ROCK


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Advanced Technology and Science Hall houses 20 teaching and research laboratories for earth sciences, chemistry and computer science. A 350-seat auditorium includes a sound system and seats wired for connectivity.

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Patriot Day

Yom Kippur Begins

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Passover Ends

September 2017

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Labor Day

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Storm Harbor Equestrian Center staff use “Liver,” a draft pony, when a rider needs a very gentle animal. Storm Harbor provides equineassisted activities for riders of all ages with physical and intellectual challenges. Students help run the programs.

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Veterans Day

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The backyard view from the R.O.C.K. Apartments student-housing complex is resplendent in autumn. Built near the former Founders Hall site, roommates share common living areas while each has a private bedroom.

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Passover Ends

November 2017

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Final Exams End Winter Commencement

Christmas Day

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The University crest fronts the historic, upper end of campus. Behind it is Paul and Carolyn Carruth Rizza Hall, formerly called West Hall.

New Year’s Eve

Passover Ends

December 2017

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Pearl Harbor Day

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The ROCK

38


Some might simply say it was her calling. Others might say it was divine intervention. Whatever anyone else may call it, there is no doubt in Michelle Erwin’s mind that helping others was her destiny. The 2012 Slippery Rock University graduate, with a doctorate in physical therapy, has the frequent flier miles to prove it. “It all started with a children’s ministry mission trip to Moldova when I was a 16-year-old high school student,” said Erwin. “I knew I wanted a career helping people and that long-term mission trips were something I wanted to do. With that in mind, any career field that would open up an opportunity for me to serve in other countries and help the people that really need assistance was going to be it for me. “When the physical therapy program at SRU presented itself, I knew it was the opportunity I had been looking for because not only do you get to spend a lot of time with people…helping them…but you’re making a difference in their mentality, physicality and spirituality. That is incredibly important to me on so many levels.” And, apparently, in so many countries. Since her initial excursion to Moldova – an Eastern European country and former Soviet republic – Erwin has made visits to Brazil, Honduras, Jamaica, Zambia, Peru, Nepal, China, Burkina Faso, and her most recent stop, Benin, West Africa aboard the Africa Mercy. The Africa Mercy is part of a fleet managed by Mercy Ships, an international faith-based organization “bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.” Since 1978, Mercy Ships delivered services to more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries. The countries served by Mercy Ships are ranked as the poorest in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index. The ship features a hospital that covers most of the original rail deck; at approximately 1,200 square meters. It is divided into quadrants containing supply/services, five operating rooms, a four-bed recovery area, intensive care for up to five individuals and 80 ward beds. The entirely volunteer crew provides free surgical procedures on board the ship, including: cataract removal/

Have ‘Mercy’

continued on page 46

PT grad delivers care aboard medical ship

Winter 2017

39


rock EDITORIAL INFORMATION To submit “Class Notes,” email us at alumni@sru.edu or go to www.rockalumnicafe.com. We do not publish engagements or pregnancies, but we do publish marriages and births. Please note that due to space restrictions, submissions may be edited. However, remember that we are proud of all our alumni and all they do. GO ROCK!

CLASS NOTES 1960s Sam Vicchy, ’61, was inducted into the Michigan Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame. Vicchy was a coach and science/chemistry teacher at Erie East High School, 1961-65; Erie Cathedral Prep School, 1965-69; Kent State University School, 196970; and Belleville (Michigan) High School, 1970-1999. He retired from BHS in 1999. A reunion of the SRU Class of 1965 recently took place in Florida. The theme of the event was “laughter and sunshine.” Pictured from left are: Lona Lesh, ’65, Dr. Marian Sutter, ’65, Linda Gilson Cooper, ’65, and Carol 1 McMahon, ’65. ●

1970s

SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION 2016-2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

President, Lisa McCullough Holmes, ’88, ’01 President-Elect, Don Huddart, ’87 Immediate Past President, Kimberley Hudak Jones, ’96 Treasurer, L. Michael Ross, ’77 Secretary, Suzanne Fodor, ’79, ’85 Executive Committee Honorary, Richard Manning, ’75  

BOARD MEMBERS:

Brittany Donatelli, ’11     Terri Flynn, ’80 Ashley Ganoe ’05, ’09  Hannah Glass, ’10 Susan Whelpley Greaves, ’80, ’85   Gary Hoffman, ’84 Brad Kovaleski, ’01, ’03 Mike Maurer, ’11     Bob McComas, M82 David Price, ’78  Corey Riddell, ’88 Keith Warcup, ’75    Ron Wickwire, ’79 Dominic Williams, ’88    Richard Wood ’75  Sam Zyroll, ’78 Melissa Visco, ’04 Patrick Geho, ’92 


40 The The ROCK ROCK 40

Ed Pete, ’70, and Peggy Pete, ’70, recently attended the Inaugural SRU Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Pete was the General Manager of WNFT Radio from 196870. Pictured from left are: Greg McAtee, ’79; SRU President, Cheryl 2 Norton; Peggy Peter and Ed Pete. ● Toni Tatala Casciato, ’71, recently retired following a physical education teaching and coaching career that spanned 40 years at two Floridian districts. Casciato resides in North Carolina with her husband, Emmett, where they founded the WNC Military History Museum. Jim Petuch, ’74, retired as the director of solid waste management in Mahoning County, Ohio, has reentered the education field as a substitute teacher. Petuch graduated from SRU with a secondary education certificate. Jane Heretick Thimons, ’74, was a recipient of a 2016 Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Thimons has taught first grade at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament School for the

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past 28 years. She also received the award in 1994.

1990s

Garry Benford, ’77, ’79, competed in the American Powerlifting Federation Ohio State Championships in Mansfield, Ohio Sept. 10, 2016, setting a world record in the bench press with a press of 435 lbs. in the 198-pound division for 60-64 year 3 olds. ●

Darren Umble, ’90, was recently ordained as a minister in Philadelphia. A retired art teacher from the Philadelphia Public Schools, he is currently the director of employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Delaware County.

Richard R. Eanes, ’77, recently retired from the Saul High School of Agricultural Science in Philadelphia. For more than 28 years, Eanes served as a health and physical education teacher, athletic director and varsity baseball, volleyball and cross country coach.

Debra Fitzsimons, ’91, has been named acting chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District in Mission Viejo, California.

1980s Susan Dyson Cataldi, ’80, recently founded “Team Friends,” a 501(c)3 organization for adults 21 and older with intellectual disabilities, autism and Down syndrome. The group stages monthly events and activities and participates in philanthropic activities to edify their constituents. Yvonne (Young) Garrett, ’81, was recently promoted to city manager of the city of La Mesa in San Diego County, California, overseeing the daily operations of the city’s more 4 than 60,000 residents. ● Lori Sheerin,’84, launched Autism Services of Southern Colorado in June. The agency provides DIR/IDI PLAY Project Autism therapy, early intervention, developmental therapy, consultation and advocacy. Joseph Bethle, ’86, was recently named assistant professor and clinical coordinator of physician assistant studies at Francis Marion (South Carolina) University. Retired Army Maj. Mark Chase, ’89, has co-authored the Civil War book, “To Prepare for Sherman’s Coming: The Battle of Wise Forks, March 1865.” The book explores the significance of the clash between Union and Confederate troops that occurred March 7-10, 1865, in Kinston, North Carolina. Chase researched the battle by reviewing official military reports, diaries, newspapers and letter collections.

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Nicola Henry-Taylor, Esq., ’93, joined Myers Law Group, LLC in Warrendale Sept. 1, 2016. Ray Novotny, ’94, master’s degree in park and resource management, retired in 2016 after a 30-plus year career at Ford Nature Center in Mill Creek MetroParks in Mahoning County, Ohio. Following his retirement, the Board of Park Commissions bestowed the honorary title of “Naturalist Emeritus” upon Novotny. The National Association for Interpretation has recognized him with its distinguished professional interpreter, master interpretive manager and Thomas Say Naturalist 5 awards of excellence. ● Michael Trillizio, ’97, was promoted to director of community support services at Gateway Longview, a behavioral health agency in Buffalo, New York. In his new role, Trillizio will oversee and support nearly 50 clinical and non-clinical caseworkers. Gateway Longview offers community-based services along with residential treatment and special education programs. David Sabolcik, ’98, was named senior associate athletic director of external operations at the University of Northern Colorado. He will serve as the administrator for several of UNC‘s athletic programs.

2000s Gary Renwick, ’00, has been named the Pennsylvania Health Care Association’s Assisted Living/ Personal Care Executive Director of the Year. Renwick, executive director of Newhaven Court at

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Clearview, received the honor at the association’s annual convention in Lancaster County. He was selected from a group of more than 100 nominees. Kelly Stratton, ’00, has been promoted to vice president, communications, at Altitude Marketing. In her new role, Stratton is responsible for driving the strategic communication efforts that promote and enhance Altitude’s and clients’ brand reputation; serving on the company’s leadership team; and developing Altitude’s internal 6 communications strategy. ● Luis Almeida, ’02, has been appointed as the interim department chair in Jackson (Mississippi) State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies. Almeida, an associate professor of emergent strategic communications, has published more than 20 articles and presented at more than 60 academic conferences at the local, state, national and international levels. Tera McIntosh, ’06, was recently hired as the visiting assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University. She is teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership and organizational development; decision making; communication; and conflict resolution. She is also involved in developing specific programs that offer leadership development to campus groups, campus leadership, off-site corporations and area community colleges. Jeff Feola, ’07, has been named company manager for the Broadway musical “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.” The production opened Oct. 18 and stars Josh Groban and Denee Benton. In his role, Feola is primarily responsible for managing payroll for the cast and crew and numerous other logistical concerns. Casey Brooks, ’09, was recently named district program administrator with the Guernsey County (Ohio) Soil & Water Conservation District.

2010s

In Memory

Corey Carrington, ’11, has been selected as the Society for Contemporary Craft’s inaugural Emerging Black Arts Leaders Apprentice. The Pittsburgh-based apprentice program addresses the “staggering underrepresentation of African-Americans on museum staffs by awarding a one-year, paid apprenticeship to a talented emerging arts leader of color.” ● 7

Mary Catherine (Rieger) Hoehn, ’29 Anna Marie Lorne, ’29 Martha Jane (Fleming) Bortmas, ’44 Raymond Bauer, ’49 Margaret Weyer, ’49 McCurdy Raymond Cypher, ’50 Dale Rose Arnold, ’51 Larry McManigle, ’54 Robert Boring, ’55 Allie Schaff, ’57 Arthur Steves, ’58 Walter David Karcher, ’59 John Franklin Young, ’60 Frank Vormack, ’61 Charles Crowell, ’62 William Bianco, ’63 John Pringle, ’63 Edward John Heinz, ’64 Michael Kukic, ’65 Gloria Lucey, ’65

Brian Sullivan, ’11, ’12, was named the Frederick County (Virginia) Public Schools “Teacher of the Year.” Sullivan, now in his fifth year as a math teacher at James Wood High School, received a commemorative plaque; a gold signet ring; $3,000 for instructional materials, supplies or travel and a $150 Best Buy gift card. Eli Blasko,’12, has been selected as the Artist of Record for Chapman Cultural Center’s “Artlets” project in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Blasko, who is also a curator, muralist and art writer, has recently relocated to Spartanburg to cofound Bannan Blasko LLC, an arts and design company focusing on the creation of public art, murals and hand-painted signage. Kristy Boyle, ’12, was recently named manager of adult dance and fitness programs for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. PBTS is recognized as one of the nation’s finest schools for dance education and training, offering dance education to more than 900 students of all ages, levels and degrees of interest. Adam Katchmarchi, ’12, has been named president of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. Katchmarchi, a licensed EMT, holds provider, instructor and trainer certifications from multiple organizations, including the American Red Cross Instructor Trainer Certification in Lifeguarding and Water Safety; as well as the National Swimming Pool Foundation Instructor Certification. Kris Nolt, ’13, was recently named the manager of communications for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and USA Hockey Arena. As

12 ●

13 ●

Alex Barrett, ’16, was named emerg­ ing technology, multimedia and SEO specialist at Tim Krueger Consulting in Pittsburgh. Barrett’s responsibilities include: enhancing the search integra­ tion footprint for clients; establishing and implementing SEO based social media campaigns; and integrating search optimized press releases into client’s promotional strategy mixes.

Births Michael Sherman, ’12, and Tiffany Sherman, ’13, welcomed their son, Carter, born June 15, 2015. Carter is 8 pictured with his brother, Colt. ●

Weddings

Michelle E. Barr, ’13, and Andrew D. Cummings, ’13, ’14, married June 18, 2016 in Fairborn, Ohio. They reside in Florence, South Carolina. SRU alumni in the weeding party included: Chris 10 Mosesso, ’12, and Devin Skinner, ’13. ●

Cleveland Monsters Hockey Night and Alumni Reception Quicken Loans Arena 1 Center Ct. Cleveland, Ohio 44115

MARCH 7

Florida Alumni Event Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Game Bradenton, Fla.

Dillon O. Gruber, ’14, and Elizabeth A. Campman, ’14, married Aug. 6, 2016 in Fredonia. They reside in Grove 12 City. ●

Tina Johnson, ’09, and Tammy Johnson 14 married July 2014 in Erie, PA. ● 15 ●

FEBRUARY 4

TJ Anderson, ’14, and Michele Sneddon, ’14, married Oct. 9, 2016 in Prospect. SRU Alumni in the wedding party included: Hannah McLaughlin, ’14, and Mike Corrado, ’13, with a 9 reading done by Adam Smith, ’13. ●

Alyshia Inks, ’07, and Michael James Ravida Jr. married Sept. 24, 2016. The 13 couple resides in Pittsburgh, PA. ●

14 ●

Thom Cobb (retired faculty) Marilyn “Chris” Gould (retired staff) Richard Medve (retired faculty) Clara Settlemire (retired faculty)

manager, his responsibilities include overseeing all communications and media relations that pertain to Team Development Program.

Shane Duda, ’13, and Stephanie Case, ’13, were married August 20, 2016 in Salem, Ohio. The couple reside in 11 Youngstown, Ohio. ●

11 ●

Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Beck, ’66 Robert Zeilinge, ’66 Patricia D. (Morgus) Gavula, ’67 Mary Ann (Strager) Popovich, ’69 D. Thomas McDonald, ’70 Paula (Rusiewicz) Lerfald, ’72 Sonja (Bowser) Kozuch, ’78 Alva “Jo” (Moore) Zeffiro‘78 Stephanie (Arnold) Eisensmith, ’88 John Joseph “Haus” Vrobel, ’91 Rosemarie Gaiser, ’96 Barbara Kathryn (Markley) Laughlin, ’98 Angela Savocchia, ’00 Lori Eckrich, ’04 Curtis Chappell, ’08

Emily Schneider, ’14, and Nick 15 McCowin, ’12, married Aug. 13, 2016. ●

Registration for all upcoming alumni events can be found at www.rockalumnicafe.com/ eventcalendar or by calling 1.800.GET.ROCK

Winter 2017

41


G NE

Sailing

Common sense and a penchant for self-preservation dictates that most people would swear by the turf once they nearly died in the surf. Clearly, Ben Shaevitz, Slippery Rock University professor of physics and pre-engineering, doesn’t qualify as “most people.” Rather, a near-death experience at the age of 7 during a family sailboat excursion, served as the catalyst for a love of the water. The near-death experienced occurred as his father skippered the family sailboat on a lake in southern Ohio, near his hometown of Chillicothe. “I remember we were out on a windy day,” said Shaevitz of his aquatic encounter with disaster. “The boat had a wooden main mast that gave way to the wind and broke. He was probably scared I was going to die…(that) everyone was going to drown. At that early age, it really set the idea in me that sailing is a very natural sport, with a good aesthetic. I’ll never forget that day.” Shaevitz said the experience instilled in him the challenge, risk and human mortality that are all a part of sailing – and part of the sport’s appeal. He has been anchored to the pastime ever since. “Boats break, you fix them,” said Shaevitz. “Seamen challenge mother nature. That is what they do.” Shaevitz’s lifelong participation in sailing – in particular, racing – has carried him far. He began by crewing for others throughout high school and college. Those experiences set the stage for an adult that has competed in more than 5,000 races en route to capturing 10 trophies and 50 flags for first, second or third places.

42 42 The TheROCK ROCK


“Racing is very humbling and winning is a major accomplishment,” Shaevitz said. Shaevitz has plied the waters of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin and Thunder Bay, Ontario, competing on lakes in summer and on the ice in winter. “Sailing is incredibly pure because it’s you against the wind, so to speak,” Shaevitz said. “You have a sense of accomplishment because you’re using your intellect – and technology – to outsmart Mother Nature. It’s recreational, but it’s not like I’m doing yoga. It can really be a challenge. On Lake Erie, if something goes wrong, you can die. So you do have to keep it together and be vigilant at all times.” The mariner paused, smiled and added that sailing builds stamina for life’s difficulties. “When the conditions get challenging, you have to conquer them or succumb to them,” he said. “That’s a really good lesson about being human and living in our world. You put yourself in a challenging situation and you come out of it.” Shaevitz’s maturation as a sailor occurred when he was an undergraduate at Purdue University. It was there that a passing glance at a science building bulletin board led to him answering the call of a chemistry professor looking for crew members. The professor, Albert Light, took young Shaevitz on as an apprentice, teaching him how to skipper lightning class sailboats.

Shaevitz said racing the craft on the open water is like being behind the wheel of a racecar with lots of horsepower. “It’s pretty easy to get her to 90 percent of her potential,” he said. “The last 10 percent is a challenge. In competitive fleets, 90 percent puts you in last place, 95 percent puts you near the front and 98 percent will get you in first place.” A lesser performing boat might be mentally easier to sail, said Shaevitz, but would not fuel his competitive juices nearly as much. “This is the first boat I have ever owned that can be in first place every race. So it’s up to its crew to bring that out.” Shaevitz said he steered toward racing instead of leisure boating because of the thrill of competition as well as the intellectual and physical intricacies. “I grew up racing. I swam competitively,” he said. “I was on the track team in high school. I race bikes, I do mountaineering, I rock climb and I ski. I find competition exhilarating.” Shaevitz sometimes shares the waters with a trio of SRU colleagues in Jason Hilton, assistant professor of secondary education; Judy Silva, assistant professor of library; and Patrick Burkhart, professor of geography, geology and the environment. “On a boat that has four to six people aboard, the team aspect adds an element that is very enriching,” Shaevitz said. “There is a fantastic social element because you’re doing it together…watching out for each other and learning from one another.” While his education “doesn’t hurt” his chances in sailboat races, Shaevitz said sailing is a thinking man’s sport with strategies and tactics, like chess. Like his father Robert who paddled the father-son duo to safety 50 years ago by thinking fast on his feet, sailing is about, “Deciding where to go, how to go and when to change course, so it is very robust in its demands,” Shaevitz said.

Sailing is incredibly pure because it’s you against the wind, so to speak. You have a sense of accomplishment because you’re using your intellect – and technology – to outsmart Mother Nature.

A lightning class boat is a sloop rigged sailing dinghy originally designed in 1938. More than 15,000 crafts have been built since then. There is room in the cockpit for four to daysail, but a crew of three is employed when racing. On most racing teams, the skipper helms the boat and handles the mainsail. The front crew on a racing team handles the jib upwind and is responsible for spinnaker pole handling downwind. When racing, a middle crew is relied upon for trimming the spinnaker downwind and has boat balance as a primary responsibility upwind. Light, an experienced sailor who was knowledgeable in sail trim and racing tactics, helped Shaevitz not only on the water, but to make connections to his life’s calling as a scientist. He began to see that sailing was not all about intuition, but knowledge and strategy. “That was my introduction to the scientific approach to sailing,” Shaevitz said. “As a kid, you just sailed and didn’t analyze it. But as a professional scientist, intuition has a place, but it has to be supported by the content. Same with sailing.” Over the course of his sailing career, Shaevitz can count the number of boats he’s owned on two hands – 10 in all. He has captained small, centerboard sailboats until graduating to “big boats” in 2005. His most recent vessel, “Silver Wheel II,” is a 35-foot keelboat valued at $100,000 and docked at the Erie Yacht Club. Shaevitz said the vessel is akin to owning a second home that requires maintenance and care – as well as monthly payments.

Winter Winter2017 2017 43 43


“Whoa Nelly” Equestrian Center Endowment exceeds $1 million The 2016 Sunset Serenade resulted in more than $100,000 in net proceeds and drove the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center endowment beyond the $1 million mark. More than 23 businesses and individuals sponsored the event, resulting in $73,000 in support. In addition, more than 330 guests purchased tickets and participated in the successful silent and live auctions to benefit the Center. Storm Harbor provides weekly equine-assisted activities and therapies for people of all ages with cognitive, physical, emotional and social disabilities. There is programming for American veterans with disabilities, as well as for individuals on the autism spectrum. The Center also offers programs to the general public, including community summer camps for children. “We are so grateful for the donors, staff, volunteers, riders and their families, and the Slippery Rock University administration for creating this special place,” said Carolyn Rizza, chair of Storm Harbor’s advisory board and SRU professor emerita of sociology and social work who, along with husband Paul, is a founding donor to the Center. “Miracles occur every day as riders develop new capabilities – and SRU students acquire the skills to address rider needs – with the assistance of horses. And everyone has a lot of fun. As a lifetime rider, I can attest to the benefits of the exercise and the relationship with the animal. Sometimes it has been a Tim Samaroo lifesaver for me. “The Center is almost at and family. capacity,” Rizza added. “As we look toward the future, we will be making plans to expand to meet the need. We need more horses, therefore more stalls and more riding space. We hope that donors will continue to support us as we grow.” Courtney Gramlich, Storm Harbor director, said the endowment helps to support many riders with financial need. “Having this endowment and making our program sustainable helps us ensure that these programs will continue for many years,” said Gramlich. “The endowment would not be possible without the support of the SRU community, including the faculty, staff and alumni.”

44 The ROCK

“We can adapt our program to meet the needs of each participant. By participating in a physical activity, you are not only improving your physical well-being, but you are also improving your mental health through social interaction, connection with an animal.” For those on the autism spectrum, equine-assisted activities aid in boosting socialization skills. “Riding is the physical activity, but working with an animal bigger than you also gives you self-confidence,” Gramlich said. “Sometimes the children with autism do not connect well to others, but they connect with animals.” Ryan Beunier, 14, from Butler, spoke about the impact of his Storm Harbor experience at Sunset Serenade. His activities include 30-minute rides coupled with opportunities to learn grooming and proper equine care and handling. “I’ve been coming to Storm Harbor since I was about 5 years old,” Beunier said. “I started by riding Liver, Bud and Wendy, but I’ve been riding Rusty for some time.” Kyle Strawbridge, 18, from Grove City, also thanked donors for their support, saying, “Storm Harbor exists because it is the will of the people.” His mother, Betsy Strawbridge, an administrative assistant for SRU’s College of Education, said the programs have been life changing for her son, who is on the autism spectrum. “The most noted benefit for Kyle is that he has become a more socially confident young man,” Betsy Strawbridge said. “This is extremely important because it’s not something you can just go work on. Being in an environment where Kyle is completely accepted by everyone, enables him to be himself, and improve these crucial social skills. Storm Harbor provides an essential environment, one that cannot be simply bought with money or easily fabricated. It has provided a priceless experience.” Betsy Strawbridge said the science-based programming and expertise of the center’s staff and student volunteers has “immensely improved” Kyle’s motor skills. “He has flourished because of the programming conducted at the center, the wonderful staff, volunteers and donors.”


Sunset Serenade Storm Harbor Equestrian Center O C T. 1 5 , 2 016

016 Rizza at the 2 n ly ro a C d n a Pau l ade. Sunset Seren

Amy Bersett, ass oc for the SR U F iate director of deve lopment oundation, with Joe 7’ 3 at the 2 016 Sunset Serenad tte Steele, e.

Joyce Cully of United Plate Glass, a sponsor of the event.

Lynn Beck, Storm Harbor Equestrian Center advisory board member

ati Bo b and K

e Jamison

(From left) S the 2 016 S lippery Roc k Univers u it therapy grad nset Serenade inc lude y students that assisted d: James M uate studen at t hea lth coun se ling grad from Fairview; Antho yers, a p hysica l uate studen ny Roc k, a m a senior ear t fr l e Rippey, a 2 y c hild hood education m om Hermitage; Logan nta l 015 gradua Petra k, ajor from E te ll r e s o ur c e m a nagement; K with a bac he lor’s degree wood City; C huc k ell from Pitts bu in rg h; and A y Rothroc k, a junior p par k and s yc h o l og y m ustin Eddy, major from Waynes burg a junior safe a . ty managem jor e nt

Winter 2017 45


“Being in service to others and helping them live a richer and fuller life means a lot to me. It’s why I’m here.”

46

The ROCK

continued from page 39

lens implants, tumor removal, cleft lip and palate reconstruction, orthopedics (club feet and bowed legs) and women’s health, plastic and general surgeries as well as some ambulatory day surgery procedures. The hospital contains a CT scanner, x-ray and laboratory services that support the surgical services. Erwin, who joined the African Mercy’s 400-plus person staff in August, will remain aboard the ship through May. “It’s surprising how quickly you can get acclimated to working with a crew made up of persons from more than 35 countries,” said Erwin. “But since we’re all pulling in the same direction, staff and patients alike, the different perspectives and different cultures miraculously come together and it just works.” A typical day for Erwin begins with an early morning run around the ship’s deck before heading to the rehab center for rounds to kick off an eight-hour shift. “One of the great things about this job is my morning commute is a walk through a door on the same floor that I live on,” said Erwin with a laugh. “We do a lot of pediatric surgeries, so I’m provided with lots of opportunities to be with children, which I love. Teaching them basic movement and strengthening post-op provides a lot of one-on-one time with them and even though language can be a barrier at times, smiles and laughs are pretty universal. “With kids, especially the younger ones, (I’m) used to a lot of nonverbal and a lot of demonstrating…they’re pretty good about picking up on things and attempting to pick up on our English while we’re attempting to pick up on their French,” she said. “When we’re dealing with tribal dialects, we bring in the interpreters.” Daily inpatient ward care for Erwin involves visiting the hospital‘s five wards, each holding 10-20 patients, followed by outpatient appointments and follow-ups on the ship’s deck. Evenings are filled with staff “community” get-togethers, including dinners, Bible study, volleyball tournaments or group visits into town. “We eat, sleep, work and play with the same people,” Erwin said. “Fortunately, everyone gets along well and falling into a familylike atmosphere seems to come naturally. It’s been really neat to be around people that are of like minds and that are so dedicated to serving and helping others.” Erwin’s dedication to serving and helping will continue long after her commitment aboard the African Mercy comes to a close. The Monroeville native is already researching other long-term foreign missions, including opportunities to assist orphanages and special needs children. “This journey has already shown me how adaptable and flexible I am to any given situation,” said Erwin. “I’ve learned that I can jump right in and be fine…no worries. When I stop to think about what I’ve learned about myself so far, it really takes some thought. Not because I haven’t learned anything, but because I dove in and have been so busy. “Being in service to others and helping them live a richer and fuller life means a lot to me. It’s why I’m here.” Chances are, there are others waiting for her to be “there” as well.


1889 + We've got your 650 1 Hour number 8,800+ 24:1 360 S 150 R 30+ 1000 3.39 U 82% Slippery Rock 95% 17 12 Founded in

acre campus in the heart of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Less than

from Pittsburgh

students

Student-to-faculty ratio

with

full-time faculty

undergraduate majors

More than

graduate degrees and certificates

average SAT for entering freshmen

average high school GPA

Freshman-to-sophomore retention rate

of first-year students live on campus

UNIVERSITY

Division II men’s and women’s teams

intercollegiate sports

What others say about The Rock

2016

Princeton Review

Magazine

“One of the greenest universities in the nation.”

“One of the top 125 Green Universities in America”

U.S. News and World Report

Colleges of Distinction

“One of the top 100 regional universities in the North.”

Money magazine “A Best Value Institution”

Victory Media

“A military friendly university.”

“A 2016-17 College of Distinction for institutional commitment to engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.”

College Factual

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Best Colleges.com

“Great college to work for.”

www.sru.edu

“Best Value for the Money”

“One of Pennsylvania's best online colleges.”

800.929.4778


104 Maltby Avenue, Suite 201 Slippery Rock, PA 16057 SENATOBIA, MS PERMIT #433

Experience the Difference

www.SRU.edu

A member of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education

rock

I am the

Matt Lautman, ’99, political science, attorney/shareholder at Houston Harbaugh, P.C. in Pittsburgh

DAY JOB: I am a shareholder at the law firm of Houston Harbaugh and I have been practicing law for 14 years, primarily in litigation. The type of cases I am involved in are quite diverse as I represent businesses and individuals in commercial disputes, architects and engineers in construction disputes, as well as individuals in estate contests and guardianship actions. BACKGROUND: While at SRU, I was a member of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, the SRU Program Board and a student member of the SRU Judicial Board. After graduation, I received my law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. My wife, Christy, is the other “rock” in my life. Since 2013, I have been a proud member of SRU’s Council of Trustees, and I currently serve as its chair. Giving back to SRU is important to me; part of that giving includes the Dr. Martin and Rena Lautman Memorial Scholarship I established in the memory of my grandparents.  INFLUENCE OF SRU: Of course, the great education I received was influential in my personal and professional lives. But the oneon-one experiences I had with faculty and staff were instrumental in guiding me to my career, especially my time with Dr. John Bonando. He spent countless hours with me, personally advising me on my academic life as well as my future prospects.

48

The ROCK

Rock magazine Winter 2017  
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