SRU inaugurated Dr. Cheryl Norton as the 16th president last Friday in the Quad.
The Army ROTC and SRU Percussion Ensemble, faculty delegates, staff and student representatives marched from The Alumni House to the Quad in the Grand Entrance. Each college dean and speaker sat in the Gazebo during the ceremony. Provost William Williams welcomed the University for celebrating a new academic year that brings freshmen and opportunities to the campus.
“It has a twofold purpose,” Provost Williams said. “It is to present the new president in a formal convocation to the public and to permit the university to reaffirm its commitment to its primary goal of advancing the excellence of the institution in all of its endeavors.”
Mr. David Wolfe, the president of SGA, welcomed the students.
“Dr. Norton’s favorite quote since she’s been here is, ‘The sun is always shining at Slippery Rock,” Wolfe said. “I joked with her and said, ‘This is how I can tell you haven’t been here very long yet, but sure enough she put me in my place today because sure enough we got beautiful weather today.”
After Wolfe’s greeting, Dr. Joan Condravy, the past president for APSCUF, greeted the University Faculty and shared about President Norton.
“She is likely to greet the student body and faculty whom she recognizes with a hug as a handshake,” Condravy said.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Eric Holmes, the chairperson of the SRU Council of Trustees, presented the Medallion to President Norton. The President can wear this sterling silver and 14-Karat gold Medallion, symbolizing the Office of the President, at formal University convocations.
Then, Ms. Wilma J. Cavill, the Grand Marshal, presented the MACE, a maple wood and brass headed-figure that is permanently on display in the President’s Office.
SRU Council of Trustees wore pink shirts that read “Norton 16” referring to a sweet-16 celebration. President Norton gave an address after she received her academic symbols.
“I believe in Slippery Rock University’s energy, its wisdom, its creativity and its focus,” President Norton said. “But most importantly, I believe that its desire to support student success is demonstrated by our collective commitment.”
Reverend Keith McIlwain gave the benediction and Cavill spoke for the closing.
Nearly 400 faculty, staff and SRU students participated in a procession. Guido Pichini, the chair of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors, and Peter Garland, the executive vice chancellor for the state system invested in the ceremony.
After the ceremony, Ms. Tina Moser, the administrative liaison to the Council, said what the inauguration means for the University.
“I think that it’s exciting to have a woman president,” Moser said. “It is really about choosing the right leader at the right time. It was about her credentials.”
The inauguration reception was held after the ceremony on the front lawn of the Vincent Science Center where they had free food. The SRU Brass Quintet and SRU Chamber singers performed at the prelude and recessional of the ceremony. Despite the heavy rainfall the previous day, it did not rain that morning.
President Norton graduated from Denison University with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and recreation. She received three degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University; a master of arts in applied physiology and both a master of education and a doctor of education in applied physiology.
President Norton was selected as president by the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher education on April 5.
President Norton is married to her husband, Henry, and has two sons.