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Susquehanna University President Lemons to Trade Places with Raffle-Winning Student

April 16, 2009

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Just when the gap between senior executives and the average citizen seems wider than ever, Susquehanna University is putting a student in charge. On April 21, Kristin Catena, a senior at Susquehanna, will attend top-level meetings, preside over campus events and dine with the president’s family, while university President L. Jay Lemons will attend Catena’s classes and harp lesson, and lunch with her friends, all for a worthy cause.

The role reversal is at the heart of “Jay for the Day,” a fundraiser in which Susquehanna students bought raffle tickets for the chance to switch lives – for a day – with Lemons. As the winner, Catena not only gets to hobnob with top administrators but also name the charity that will split about $400 with leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, sponsors of the event. She has chosen Lifeties Inc., an organization that helps troubled teens and young adults in Trenton, N.J.

As “Jay for the Day,” Catena is scheduled to hit the gym early; attend the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting; deliver opening remarks at Senior Scholar’s Day, an annual showcase of student research and creative work; participate in a board of trustees committee meeting via teleconference; cheer on the university softball team and the Selinsgrove High School girl’s lacrosse team, which includes Lemons’ daughter; and conclude the day by joining Lemons’ wife and children for dinner. Interested parties can follow her experiences on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jayfortheday .

Lemons, in the meantime, is slated to attend Catena’s classes as a music and sociology major, including Social Stratification and History of Anthropological Theory. He will also lend support to her presentation at Senior Scholars Day, attend her harp lesson and share lunch in the college cafeteria with her pals.

“Jay is typically and characteristically ‘up for anything,’ ” said Kathy Owens, executive assistant to the president. “He welcomes the opportunity to support fundraising efforts of our students, and the novelty of this idea was certainly attractive.”

For Catena, of Lawrenceville, N.J., the chance to help her favorite cause was too good to turn down. She spent a summer working with LifeTies (www.lifetiesinc.org) and wanted to lend extra support.”I wanted to support the raffle especially because it was for a benefit, but I also look forward to learning more about what the president's job entails,” she said.

Catena’s pending presidential duties and double major at Susquehanna are only part of what makes her one of the school’s busiest students. The honors student also is a Hitchner Social Justice Fellow; vice president of the university’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance; and a member of the school’s Diversity Council, WomenSpeak gender equality organization and Gaming Club.

“I think it will be a good chance for Jay to see what everyday student life is like since, from my perspective, that is what SU is really about,” Catena said.

Founded in 1858, Susquehanna University is a national liberal arts college that prepares students for achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, interconnected world. Academic excellence, study away and service learning, student-faculty collaboration, and rich opportunities for creative and personal growth are hallmarks of a Susquehanna University education. Susquehanna students come from 30 states and 12 countries, and more than 90 percent of them find jobs or pursue graduate study within six months of graduation. The university is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove, along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna River and about three hours from major East Coast cultural, financial and recreational centers. For more information, visit www.susqu.edu.

Contact: Karen Jones

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