Kicking off the celebration of Slippery Rock University’s 125 anniversary, SRU President Cheryl J. Norton led a parade of SRU students, alumni, faculty and administration from oldest building on campus, Old Main, to the newest building, the Robert M. Smith Student Center Thursday at noon.
“I invite each of you to join us throughout 2014 as we celebrate 125 years of Slippery Rock University history, an inspiring story of community, resilience, and bold innovation” Norton said after arriving at the student center. “We are, have always been, and forever will be, the Rock.”
Council of Trustees President and Board of Governers member Robert Taylor, city council member Ken Harris, SGA President Buddy Clements, and SRU Vice President of Student Affairs Robert Watson each spoke about the history of SRU.
“In December of 1887, hardly more than a heaping handful of concerned citizens of the Centerville area, later to be renamed Slippery Rock, gathered in the Presbyterian Church to discuss the possibility of an education beyond eighth grade for their sons and daughters,” Watson said. “It’s almost unfathomable to comprehend that in just 14 months that small group of extremely dedicated people had acquired the original 10 acres of land, designed and constructed three buildings, appointed a principal, selected a faculty of six, and recruited, enrolled 106 students and laid the foundation upon which we stand today.”
Members of the faculty then took turns reading the names of the first class that graduated from SRU. According to Executive Director for University Public Relations Rita Abent, every student who has graduated from SRU will be read at various locations everyday from the opening ceremony until December. The names of the students were researched by the Green and White Society.
“Throughout the course of the year, there will be other major events that will be [related to the 125 anniversary]. For example, Black History Month will also tie into the history of the institution.”
A webpage dedicated to the anniversary launched Thursday to coincide with the first day of the celebration. It can be accessed through the official SRU website. The webpage includes a calendar of upcoming events related to the anniversary.
Abent stated that one of the biggest events will be Founder’s Day on March 26 which celebrates the first day that SRU opened its doors. In June there will be a picnic for the families of the original members of the university.
“It’s great to make sure that we always remember that we grew from fact that there were families here who said, ‘we need this, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to do it,’” Abent explained.
Abent said planning for the 125 anniversary started eight months ago and a lot of time was spent creating the webpage, logos and organizing the events. There have been over 300 students that have volunteered to join the student committee.