Joe is director of Community National Bank in Pittsburg, while his wife, Becky, teaches Spanish at Northeast High School in Arma. The Leeks also have a son, Chris, who is serving in the military in Iraq.
“It was totally a surprise,” Joe said. “Most of my family and Becky’s families have attended Pittsburg State, so we’ve been loyal supporters for some time, but it never really dawned on us to be an Honorary Family.”
Joe said his daughter’s training in public relations might have helped them clinch the prize. “I have a great publicist in my daughter, Joy,” Joe said.
Joy’s application won over the judges, including DeeAnn Allen, who graduated from PSU in 1997 with a BA in communication.
“The application was very well written, and it was obvious that they’re a family that just loves Pitt State,” Allen said.
Applications for the honor asked students to answer five open-ended questions that gave the judges an idea of the students’ family lives, activities, and connections to Pitt State.
In her application, Joy wrote that her mother always stressed the importance of higher education in fostering independence and self-confidence.
“Even though children do not usually like to admit their parents are right, I will confess that I’m so glad my mother taught me that lesson,” Joy wrote. “As I’m getting ready to graduate in May, I know that when I leave Pittsburg State, no matter where I go or what I do, I can do it on my own.”
Allen said that Leek’s application was impressive in general – her parents and her brother, Chris, have long been active at PSU - but one detail in particular helped push the Leeks to the top of the 19 candidates.
“I believe that when Joy graduates she’ll be the 30th graduate from PSU,” Allen said. “So that’s evidence of the family’s dedication to the school. I couldn’t believe it!”
While the Leeks have a long list of family ties to Pitt State, Joy herself has proven to be no slouch during her time at PSU. She was a member of the Crimson and Gold Dance Team for four years, but this year she switched to cheerleading. She’s also been active in the Greek community, serving as Family Day chair, chapter secretary, and membership recruitment director for the Tri Sigma sorority.
In addition, she has served as a member of the Student Ambassadors, the Student Foundation Board, the Lambda Sigma Honor Society, the PSU Marketing Association, the Order of Omega, and the Senior Gift Council.