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News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Award-winning poet, novelist to present at PSU

This year’s Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at Pittsburg State University is set to kick off later this month with a reading from an award-winning poet and novelist.

Deena Linett, author of “Woman Crossing a Field” and “Rare Earths,” will read from her work at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, in the Balkans Room of Overman Student Center. A reception will follow in the Heritage Room.

Linett’s work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and has appeared in The Southern Review, Smartish Pace, Two Rivers Review, Kestrel, and Rattapallax. She is Professor Emerita of English at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.

The reading, which is sponsored by the Student Fee Council and the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series, is free and open to the public.

For more information about the reading and other Distinguished Visiting Writers Series events, contact the PSU Department of English at 620-235-4689 or visit

---Pitt State---

Student broadcasters compete for national awards

Some promising student broadcasters at Pittsburg State University are in the running for national honors.

More than 100 student radio and television stations are competing in 24 categories in this year’s National Student Production Awards, which will be presented on Friday, Oct. 31, in Kansas City. The awards recognize the best in student electronic media production from across the United States.

CAPS 13, Pittsburg State’s cable access station, is a finalist in two categories: Best Live Sports Production and Best Documentary/Public Affairs.

“Pittsburg State gives communication students the opportunity for hands-on learning,” said Dr. Troy Comeau, director of broadcasting. “I think our students appreciate the opportunity and take advantage of it. They should be very proud to be listed with some of the big-name schools from around the country.”

Pitt State’s entry in the Best Documentary/Public Affairs category is “Everyone Lives Downstream,” written and produced by Tyler Swezey, a senior from Drexel, Mo., and Anthony Monteleone, a senior from Carl Junction, Mo.

The entry in the Best Live Sports Production category is the production of the men’s MIAA basketball championship game between Northwest Missouri and Emporia State. Zoel Lopez, a senior from Coffeyville, called play-by-play, while Josh Letner, a senior from Pittsburg, served as color analyst.

The three other finalists in the category are Colorado State University, the University of Texas, and Ithaca College.

This is the fourth year that Pittsburg State has been recognized nationally in the Live Sports Production category. CAPS 13 has finished as a finalist in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Other students involved in the sports production were Zach Howard, a senior from Pittsburg; Eric Stripling, a senior from Shawnee; Dallas Cross, a junior from Olathe; Jordan Beggs, a senior from Columbus; Brock Lohr, a senior from Goodland; Rye Addis, a senior from Oswego; Blake Gazaway, a sophomore from Nevada, Mo.; Joseph Lattimer, a junior from Fort Scott; Tyler Swezey, a senior from Drexel, Mo., and Andrew Daugherty, a senior from Cherryvale.

Broadcast advisers are Comeau, Mark Depping, Leo Hudson and Derrek Crisler.

For more information on the National Student Production Awards, go to

---Pitt State---

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated at PSU

Pittsburg State University’s Office of Student Diversity is hosting several on-campus events relating to Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Monday, Sept. 15 to Wednesday, Oct. 15.

All of the events are free and open to the public.

Monday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. – Pittsburg Mayor Pam Henderson will proclaim this date as the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month in Cleveland Plaza.

Monday, Sept. 15, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Campus dining service Sodexho will serve empanadas and chipa guasu at the Corner Market in Gorilla Crossing inside Overman Student Center.

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 3 p.m. – Former study abroad participants will share their experiences in Latin American countries during a presentation to be held in the Sunflower Room, located on the second floor of Overman Student Center.

Thursday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m. – Dr. Stuart Day will present a lecture titled “What Can Mexican Plays Teach Us About Latinos in Kansas?” in 102 Grubbs Hall. A reception will follow at 8 p.m. in the Heritage Lounge of Overman Student Center. Day is associate professor of Spanish at the University of Kansas, and is a specialist in Mexican theater.

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m. – The award-winning film “Bella” by Mexican-born director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde will be shown in the U-Club Theater, downstairs in Overman Student Center.

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2 p.m. – Micaela de Vivero, an artist from Ecuador, will lecture on her art, which will be on display in the Porter Hall Art Gallery. The lecture will be held in 107 Grubbs Hall, while a reception will be held afterward in Porter Hall.

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m. – A group of panelists will discuss “Latinos in Kansas: Gauging the Political Climate and its Effects in our Community” in the Governor’s Room of Overman Student Center. A reception will follow at 3 p.m. in the Heritage Room, also in the student center.

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2 p.m. – The PSU band will perform music from Latin American countries during the halftime show of the Pitt State vs. Truman State football game.

For more information, call the Office of Student Diversity at (620) 235-4077, or visit their Web site at

---Pitt State---

Friday, September 12, 2008

Leeks chosen as Honorary Family

A family with a long history of connections to the university and the community has been selected as this year’s Honorary Family at Pittsburg State University. Joy, Joe and Becky Leek will be recognized at halftime during this Saturday’s home football game against Missouri Southern, which starts at 6 p.m.

Joy Leek, senior in communication, nominated herself and her parents, Joe and Becky, for the honor, which is awarded to one family every year during the Family Day football game.

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.
---Pitt State---

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Digital art on display in Harry Krug Gallery

Exhibits from two Southern artists who blend traditional drawings with digital composition will be on display throughout September in the Harry Krug Gallery inside Porter Hall at Pittsburg State University.

Through Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Randy Simmons, “Ties That Bind.” This exhibit features charcoal drawings that start in sketchbooks and are enhanced with digital photography. Simmons, assistant professor of art at West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, Ky., will hold a lecture at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, in 316 Hughes Hall, to discuss his work.

Through Saturday, Sept. 27 – Steven Ramsey, “Vignettes.” Ramsey, a professor at the College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., uses digital photographs that include drawing and painting to present vignettes and character portraits. Ramsey’s work has been featured in several magazines and galleries across the country.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays. For more information, call the Department of Art at (620) 235-4302.

---Pitt State---

Family makes college success a group effort

You may have heard of nontraditional students going back to college – but how about a nontraditional family?

Tom Goff, 26, decided to go back to school at Pittsburg State University to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. He’s now a pre-med senior. His wife Ashley, with whom Goff has two children, decided to follow suit. She’s now a sophomore in nursing.

Following his son’s example, Thomas F. Goff, Tom’s father, decided he wanted to go pre-med, too. Now he’s a sophomore. Then Goff’s cousin Aaron decided to join up. Finally, Goff’s aunt and uncle, Julie and J.D. Dryden, decided they wanted to come, too.

So what drove this family, all six of them, back to college at the same time?

“Tommy and Ashley have always been the inspiration,” said Julie Dryden, who is undeclared.

The Drydens, who just had their seventh child, didn’t think it was possible to go back to college while raising a family. They said Tom and Ashley’s example proved them wrong.

“I had worked 11 years as a cashier and at SKIL (Southeast Kansas Independent Living) when (Tom and Ashley) showed it could happen for people that have families,” Julie said.

Almost all of the family had a story to tell about applying for a job and being rejected because they had no college degree.

“I’m the oddball,” said the elder Tom, who worked as a truck driver before attending PSU. “I walked away from $22 an hour to come back to school.” But he said it will be worth it once he’s working at a job that doesn’t require as much physical labor as his old one.

The family can often be found hanging out in one of the corner booths in Gorilla Crossing, where they chat, play cards, and chide each other as only family members can do.

“Tom’s the cornerstone in all this,” said Julie.

“Does that mean I can get away with calling you a block head?” chimes in J.D.

Jokes aside, the family is a tight-knit unit – tighter, they said, than ever before.

“If there’s anything that happens, we are there for each other,” said Ashley.

The Goffs and Drydens get together almost every night to cook out and help each other study. Every member of the family said it was intimidating to come back to school as a nontraditional student, but also said their goals are worth whatever troubles come their way.

“If we don’t do this for our kids and show them that getting through college is possible, they’re going to be like, ‘I don’t know if I can do it,’” said Ashley.

J.D. said his example is already inspiring his children. His oldest son had previously shown no interest in continuing his education past high school. Since J.D. went back to school, his son’s grades have gone from C’s to A’s and he’s decided to go to college.

With all of them going to school at once, the Goffs and Drydens are confident they will succeed at Pittsburg State.

“We’ll all be there for each other in our downfalls,” said Ashley. J.D. agreed, “The best thing about this is the support we give to each other.”

In photo: The Goff and Dryden families take a break between classes.

---Pitt State---

PALS presents celebrity magician

An award-winning magician and winner of an NBC reality series will present his show this weekend through Pittsburg State University’s Performing Arts and Lecture Series (PALS).

Mike Super (
www.mikesuper.com), winner of NBC’s “Phenomenon,” will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, at Pittsburg’s Memorial Auditorium. Super has entertained tens of thousands, including celebrities such as Regis Philbin, Joan Rivers, Paul Reiser, and Robin Leach.

Practicing magic since the age of 6, Super was named America’s 2003 Entertainer of the Year by CW Magazine, an entertainment industry publication. He has received numerous other accolades including Novelty Entertainer of the Year, Best Performing Artist, and Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year from other national industry publications. He is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.

For tickets (free for PSU students, $5 for the general public, and $3 for PSU faculty, staff, children under 18 and adults over 65) call 620-235-4796. For more information on others PALS events, contact the PSU Campus Activities Center at 620-235-4795 or

---Pitt State---

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Learning Center names interim director

A new interim director has been chosen to lead the Learning Center, a service of the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success at Pittsburg State University.

Kelly Heiskell began Sept. 1 as director of the Learning Center, which provides support services to PSU students with learning disabilities or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders. Heiskell replaces Dr. Jamie Wood, a professor in psychology and counseling, who is dedicating more time to his mobile ADHD clinic.

Heiskell will work with students with special needs to ensure they are provided with everything they need to succeed at Pittsburg State. Such services include note taking, tutoring, and securing extra time for tests.

“Basically we make it so (students with special needs) can display their true knowledge – and that’s something that’s more difficult because of the disability they may have,” Heiskell said.

Heiskell said the assistance never modifies the curriculum. Students receiving help are responsible for learning the same information.

“(Heiskell) came highly recommended by the faculty of the Psychology Department,” said Dr. Bill Ivy, dean of Enrollment Management and Student Success. “They had had her in class, observed her in clinical settings, and they really thought she’d do a great job for us.”

Originally from Lamar, Mo., Heiskell earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from PSU in 2005, and stayed at PSU for a master’s degree in general psychology in 2006. She recently became an education specialist in school psychology and started work as a counselor in the Lamar, Mo., school district, a position in which she will continue to serve in addition to her new duties at PSU.

“Pittsburg State has just been a wonderful place for me to grow,” Heiskell said. “I had a great experience and worked with lots of great people that showed me what my talents were. They were really helpful to me and I wanted to provide that for students.”

Heiskell has won numerous awards in her career. As an undergraduate, she was awarded with the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award, and as a master’s student she won both the Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award and Dean’s Scholastic Honors for maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

---Pitt State---

Leading estimating software donated to PSU

Engineering and construction students at Pittsburg State University now have access to another leading piece of software thanks to a donation worth more than $350,000.

Management Computer Controls, a Memphis, Tenn.-based company, donated 100 licenses for their ICE (Interactive Cost Estimating) 2000 software this summer to PSU. The software, worth $365,995, helps construction companies estimate how much projects will cost, and also helps keep track of costs once work begins.

Dennis Audo, an instructor in engineering technology, said the software is one of the top three estimation programs in the country. In fact, it was the only one of the three PSU didn’t already have.

“It is just one more thing students can put on their resume as being exposed to,” Audo said. “We currently have in our arsenal the top three estimating program in the United States, so all of our students have access to those programs and get experience in using them.”

Audo said he plans to start teaching using ICE 2000 in a few weeks in his Construction Estimating I and II classes.

Audo had used the software in his construction career prior to teaching at PSU. He said he has been negotiating with Management Computer Controls since last October to have the software donated. Once he sent over information about PSU’s curriculum, they were sufficiently impressed to donate the software.

The only stipulation, Audo said, was that he had to attend four days of training in Memphis.

“That was $10,000 training,” Audo said. “And they let me sit in there for free.”

For more information on the Department of Engineering Technology at PSU, call (620) 235-4350. For more information about ICE 2000, go to

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Alumni Association names new members to board

The Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations at Pittsburg State University has announced the appointment of five new members and three returning members to the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

The members were named to the board July 1 after a vote by PSU alumni and Alumni Association members.

A collection of nominated and appointed members, the majority of the group will serve on the 21-member board for three-year terms. The Board of Directors works to advocate on behalf of the Alumni Office, as well as advising on programming and services and facilitating funding.

The new members include:

DANIEL ALCALA (BST 1973). Alcala is a construction manager for The Law Company, a construction company in Wichita. In his community he is involved with the Guadalupe Clinic, which provides health care to the uninsured. He has two sons who live in Florida and two step daughter who live in Ohio. He and his wife, Marilyn, live in Wichita.

DENNIS BURKE (BSE 1982, MS 1988, Ed.S. 1990). Burke is the superintendent of schools for USD 508 in Baxter Springs, Kan. Dennis and his wife, Mary, have three children: Martin, a current PSU student and member of the football team, Molly, who is attending PSU this fall, and Evan, a freshman at Baxter Springs High School.

PETER COLE (BS 1982). Cole is the director of finance for A. Zahner Company. He is the recipient of the 1996 U.S. Small Business Administration Region VII “Financial Services Advocate of the Year.” He resides in Lee Summit, Mo., with his wife, Janine, and three daughters.

LISA BISHOP GROSDIDIER (BBA 1994). Grosdidier is an accounting manager at Sprint Nextel Corporation. She leads the reporting, controls, and special projects teams within the capital asset accounting department and has been with the company since 1994. Lisa and her husband, Kelly Grosdidier (BS 1990), live in Overland Park, Kan., and have two daughters, Mandy and Macy.

GEORGE P. LAMPE (BA 1965). Lampe is a retired U.S. Air Force Major General with over 31 ½ years of active service. He is now engaged by a number of leading private-sector information technology companies across the United States and Canada as an independent management and information technology consultant. He is president of Lampe Consulting of San Antonio, Texas. George and his wife, Pamela, live in San Antonio and have one son.

DAVID LEWIS (BBA 1976). Lewis has been with the Liberty Savings Association in Fort Scott, Kan., since 1988, serving as president and CEO for the past 11 years. He and his wife, Debbie Sauerwein Lewis (BS 1977, MS 1980), have two children, Mark (BS 2005) and Erin, currently attending the University of Kansas.

DOUG ROBERTS (BS 1980). Roberts is the owner/operator of the Play It Again Sports franchise in Joplin, Mo., which sells new and used sporting goods. He and his wife, Brenda Robinson Roberts (BSED 1980, MS 1988), live in Joplin and have three children, Tricia (BS 2005), Billy, and Jaxon.

KERRY SACHETTA (BSE 1984, MS 1991, Ed.S. 1997). Sachetta is the principal of Joplin High School. He serves on the North Central Association Quality Assurance Review Team as chair for School Improvement and the Southwest Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. Kerry and his wife, Amber, have two sons, Gabriel and Luke.

---Pitt State---