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Slippery Rock University Receives $250,000 Gift to Develop Equestrian Center on Campus

Press Release

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Philanthropist Mrs. Ethel Carruth of Houston, Texas, has continued her support of Slippery Rock University by giving $250,000 to develop a 20-acre equestrian center on campus, providing a merge point for studies in equine therapy, biology, agriculture, green building design, farming and the environment.

The center will occupy land on the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, near N. Kerr Thompson Stadium. Plans include stables, trails and an indoor riding arena to advance SRU’s flagship Adapted Physical Activity Program, which includes equine therapy. The only program of its kind in Pennsylvania, students learn to use horses in developing therapeutic recreation programs for children and adults with disabilities.

SRU equestrian team members will board their horses at the center as well.

Interim President Robert Smith said, “SRU is moving forward as one of the premier institutions committed to providing quality educational training for those who are interested in therapeutic recreation. The university now adds an important dimension to the array of programs available for helping children and adults with disabilities. We are thankful to Mrs. Carruth for her ongoing commitment to SRU.”

“This is a huge day for Slippery Rock University,” said Dr. Jane Fulton, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science. “The equestrian center honors our rural heritage, and it gives more credibility and visibility to our adapted physical activity minor, which is the largest in the country with 70 students. We are immensely grateful to Mrs. Carruth.”

Organizers have completed two years of planning and program development and hope to start construction this spring or summer so students will be able to have their horses boarding for the fall semester, Fulton said. Undergraduate and graduate students will use the site.

Building a culture of giving

The Carruth family has done much to promote the spirit of giving at SRU. In 2000, Mrs. Carruth donated $2.5 million to renovate Paul and Carolyn Carruth Rizza Hall, formerly known as West Hall. She is the mother and mother-in-law of retired SRU professors Dr. Carolyn Carruth Rizza and Dr. Paul Rizza. Combined, they logged 52 years of service to SRU.

Mrs. Carruth’s late husband, Allen H. “Buddy” Carruth, was a managing partner for the John L. Wortham Insurance Co., of which his father had been a founder. One of his mentors was Gus Wortham, who founded the Wortham Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the U.S.

CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854; e-mail: