- Grove City, Pennsylvania

June 11, 2013

SRU's Cobb gets grads dancing

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock University's Saturday morning commencement speaker had everyone dancing at their seats as he addressed the crowd gathered at Morrow Field House.

"That was too cool," Thom Cobb said after asking everyone to stand up and dance for 15 seconds, something they should do once a week, even if there is no music playing.

Cobb is an associate professor of dance at SRU and this year's recipient of the 2013 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He spoke to those graduating from the College of Health, Environment and Science and the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts and doctoral and master's degree recipients.

Cobb and the crowd applauded after he asked all of his current and former students to stand and be recognized.

"You are my No. 1 priority," he said.

Graduation is a time of finishing and commencement means to begin the next part of your life, said Cobb, who asked everyone to repeat various phrases while clasping their hands against their chests.

"I am different. I am unique. I am special," echoed throughout the wide-open room.

You must work hard on whatever gift you have to offer, then give it to your loved ones, your state, nation and the world, Cobb told the graduates.

"Go and change the world. And, oh, by the way, don't be stupid," he said.

SRU President Dr. Cheryl Norton also spoke, saying commencement is also a fitting time to acknowledge those who have provided support to the graduates.

"Thank you all for your commitment," she said after asking families and loved ones to stand for applause, along with families of international students who traveled from afar.

John Hicks, vice chair of the SRU Council of Trustees, told the graduates to be proud of their alma mater and to tell people about SRU as they make they way in the world.

"This is your shining moment," he said.

A second commencement ceremony was held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Morrow Field House for graduates of the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences and the College of Education.

Guest speaker was Benjamas Jirasakuldech, associate professor of SRU's School of Business and the 2013 recipient of the President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement.

Wilma Cavill, SRU's longest-serving faculty member and in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, served as grand marshal. Cavill was recently honored for her 55 years of service to SRU.

Philip Way, SRU provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduating candidates for their degrees.

Lt. Col. Joseph Alessi, professor of military science and head of SRU's Army ROTC program, administered the second lieutenant oath-of-office to nine cadets, inducting them into the U.S. Army. An ROTC color guard opened commencement ceremonies.

Kimberly Hudak Jones, a 1996 SRU graduate and president of the SRU Alumni Association, inducted the graduates into the association, and the SRU Men's Quartet sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the "SRU Alma Mater."

The SRU Brass Quintet performed and a reception for graduates and their guests was held in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

Nearly 1,600 students graduated Saturday.

Published May 22, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.