By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
SLIPPERY ROCK —
The guest speaker at Slippery Rock University's Saturday morning commencement ceremony said he used to have a fear of public speaking, but he told the graduates it didn't stop him from achieving his career goals.
"I'm still a little nervous today," Tom Sparrow, SRU instructor of philosophy told the standing-room only crowd gathered in the Morrow Field House.
He spoke to nearly 865 graduates from the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, College of Health, Environment and Science and Graduate Studies.
Sparrow had considered studying elementary education at first, but he changed his mind when he took a philosophy class at SRU; it showed him another way of helping others and teaching important lessons.
"I committed myself to becoming a college professor," said Sparrow, this year's recipient of the President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement.
He found his passion for learning at SRU because he set out to do what made him happy, and it still does.
"Get your living by loving," Sparrow said, adding ambition, boldness and courage are also important.
SRU President Dr. Cheryl Norton told the graduates their names would be joining many others this year - the university's 125th anniversary.
She recognized the love and support of their families, including those who traveled from other countries.
"This is also a special day for your family and loved ones," Norton said. "Thank you for your commitment."
Norton also applauded SRU's faculty, staff and administration, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Robert Taylor, chair of SRU's Council of Trustees, thanked Norton for her leadership and the parents and relatives in the room.
"You've worked your entire lifetime to get them here today. Today is also your life accomplishment. You deserve a lot of credit and congratulations," he said.
Taylor, an SRU graduate, talks about the university all over the world through his business travels and often hears about other alumni, and the school has a great reputation, he said.
"The quality of a Slippery Rock education just got a little better," he said.
About 760 students from the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences and College of Education graduated during the afternoon ceremony.
Bruce Orvis, associate professor in SRU's School of Business and this year's recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching, was the guest speaker.
Wilma Cavill, assistant professor of health and safety management and senior member of the University faculty, served as grand marshal during both ceremonies.
Philip Way, provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the candidates for their degrees, which were awarded by Norton on behalf of the University.
Lt. Col. Joseph Alessi, professor of military science and director of SRU's Army ROTC Program, presented SRU's newest second lieutenants, who were commissioned May 9 during a ceremony in the Smith Student Center.
Ben Addison, past president of the SRU Alumni Association, welcomed the graduates into the alumni group.
The SRU Student Brass Quintet, including Andrew Loose from Mechanicsburg and Rob Kaup from Pittsburgh, both on trumpet; Christina Eisenreich from Pittsburgh on horn; Kenny Farinelli from Cranberry Township on trombone; and Mike Zech from Pittsburgh on tuba, provided processional and recessional music at the ceremonies.
The SRU Student Quartet, including A.J. Pagano and Joshua Duman, both from Nanty Glo, as tenors, and Eric Garber from Belle Vernon and J. Patrick McGill from Washington, Pa., both basses, sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the "SRU Alma Mater."
A color guard of SRU Army ROTC cadets presented the flags.
Published May 14, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.