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SRU trustees honor staff, name facilities, hear from faculty at meeting

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees honored Bruce Russell, retired dean of the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, for his distinguished service, renamed two buildings and heard presentations from faculty and staff as part of their meeting last Friday.

Russell, an SRU graduate who joined the faculty in 1973 and was appointed dean in 2002, was cited for his "commitment of caring and concern for SRU students." He retired in August after 37 years service.

SPECIAL HONORS: Dennis Murray (left), a member of the SRU Council of Trustees reads a council approved resolution honoring Bruce Russell for his 37 years of dedicated service to SRU. Russell recently retired as dean of SRU’s College of Business, Information and Social Sciences.
Russell served as an AFSCME staff member, faculty member, assistant chair and chair of the communication department before being named dean.

"He exemplified the highest standards of professionalism and was steadfast in his loyalty to all University interests, including his exceptional and much-appreciated guidance, mentorship and leadership to the Regional Learning Alliance," the trustee-approved resolution read, in part.

He was cited for devoting his talents and for being instrumental in the development of many new degree programs and the creation of SRU's professional studies department.

Russell thanked the trustees for their support and said, "I have truly enjoyed spending my entire career involved with Slippery Rock University."

Trustees agreed by resolution to name the newly opened, $400,000 intramural sports fields as the James P. McFarland Recreational Sports Complex, in honor of the late James McFarland, professor emeritus of parks and recreation at SRU.

DEDICATED SERVICE: John Hicks, an SRU trustee, offers congratulations to Janie McFarland, widow of James McFarland and a retired secretary from SRU’s exercise and rehabilitative sciences department, after reading a council-approved resolution naming SRU’s new intramural fields the Dr. James P. McFarland Recreational Sports Complex. He was a professor of parks and recreation at SRU for 17 years.
McFarland taught at SRU for 27 years before retiring in 2001. He also served as coordinator of intramural sports for 17 years. It was his original concept used by designers in creation of the complex that now bears his name. He worked endlessly to promote physical fitness and healthy competition in a safe environment that promoted fun for those involved.

He was cited for "providing opportunities for student development through recreation sports and for his passion in promoting an environment for students to learn and grow through guidance and leadership."

Janie McFarland, McFarland's widow and a retired staff member of SRU's exercise and rehabilitative sciences, accepted the resolution.

Trustees voted to approve renaming Art Building III as the Art Sculpture Building and the Leadership Reaction Course as the Leadership Development Center.

The newly constructed 5,100-square-foot, $1.25 million sculpture building, which opened last spring, is located on Maltby Drive.

It provides facilities for working with clay, wood and metals and houses a large lecture hall. The building will be officially dedicated at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 4.

The 2,240-square-foot, $300,000, leadership facility, opened in 2009 is located along North Road. The new facility serves the University's leadership development program.

More than 1,700 students and visitors use the facility annually.

Alan Levy, professor of history at SRU and author of "Floyd Patterson: A Boxer and a Gentleman," discussed his work with trustees. The comprehensive biography of the former heavyweight boxing champion and sports figures of the 1960s was undertaken when Levy realized "it had never been done before."

Levy presented a slide show tracing highlights of Patterson's life and told trustees that boxing has an unusual hold on the human psyche. "It is both repulsive and an appealing attraction." He cited the "gentleman fighter" for his ability to avoid the seamier side and his success in pulling himself out of childhood poverty.

Levy's book was published by McFarland and is available at the SGA Bookstore in the University Union and through Amazon.com online.

Rita Abent, executive director of University Public Relations, presented a report on SRU's marketing strategies.

Abent said told trustees of staff efforts to build the University's reputation using a variety of communication tools, including print, broadcast, technology and social media.

She outlined various means used on campus, including the University's magazine, weekly newsletter and daily "Good News" items dispatched to focus accomplishments of faculty, staff, students and alumni. "We want everyone to go home at the end of the day with a smile on their face, because they know something good has happened at Slippery Rock University," she said.

Trustees welcomed Brandon Maharaj, an exercise science major from Indiana, Pa., as the newest member. Maharaj was appointed in June by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell.