President Karen Riley inaugurated at SRU

A campus community comes together

Published by James Cressman, Date: December 10, 2023
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The inauguration of President Karen Riley took place on Nov. 3, officially ushering in a new chapter for Slippery Rock University. While those in attendance observed an event that seemed seamless, a lot of work went in behind the scenes to make that possible.

The inauguration of a university president is not an event that can be put together overnight. The inauguration committee spent weeks planning, practicing and walking through every step of the ceremony, from the logistics of organizing approximately 400 people for the ceremony to sending out invitations.

Lisa Weinzetl, Director of Special Events for the university was one of many people who worked on bringing the inauguration to life. Weinzetl feels lucky to have had the opportunity to work with the incredible people involved.

“This was a full committee effort,” Weinzetl said. Thirty people worked together on organizing the event, some of whom Weinzetl had not met previously. The committee met once a week starting at the end of August up until the inauguration. “We tried to be representative of all the different areas of campus and the local community.”

Prior to the ceremony, participants in the precession were staged in Weisenfluh and the Alumni House. The precession consisted of approximately 400 people, including administration, faculty and students.

According to Weinzetl, Kevin Taylor and Amy Barber of the SGA Bookstore took care of preparing the undergraduate gowns for the student participants. Facilities helped to deliver the gowns from the bookstore to Weisenfluh for the morning of the ceremony.

The SRU presidential inauguration is as much about the president as it is about the campus community. There were so many people who were involved in the preparation of the event that could not fit within the scope of one article.

Weinzetl is abundantly sure about one thing: she is not the story behind the story. Without the involvement of the entire committee and all those who volunteered, the inauguration would not have been the success that it was.

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James is a senior Strategic Communication and Media major with concentrations in digital media production and multimedia journalism. He also minors in film & media studies. James serves as the News Editor at The Rocket and President of Lambda Pi Eta: the National Communication Association’s Honor Society. James is a movie enthusiast, a “Star Wars” fanatic and a fan of all things comedy. James previously served as the President of WSRU-TV (2022-2024).

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