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News @ PSU

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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Jazz festival features Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble

The 34th annual Pittsburg State University Jazz Festival will feature a performance from famed musician Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble as well as a day of exciting competitions among area students.

More than 65 student groups from school districts including Kansas City, Wichita, Webb City, Carthage, Diamond, Cherokee, and more will perform at the festival. Band judging will be held from 8 a.m. -12:30 p.m. and from 1:30-5:30 p.m. on March 7. Competitions will be held at three locations – Pittsburg’s Memorial Auditorium, and McCray Hall and the Overman Student Center on the campus of PSU.

Breaking up the intense day of competition will be a PSU jazz concert held at 1 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium. At 7:30 p.m., Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble will perform (the group had been scheduled to perform at last year’s festival but had to cancel due to bad weather). That concert will also be held at Memorial Auditorium.

As a conductor, composer and educator, Faddis has been praised as a consummate musician capable of an incredible range and virtually unparalleled talent. Time Out New York (2003) praised him as “the world’s greatest trumpeter” with “breathtaking technical acuity,” and The Wall Street Journal (2005) has characterized him as a musician with “prodigious lyrical force.”

Tickets for the evening concert are $12 for adults and $10 for those over 65 or 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling Bob Kehle at 620-235-4474 or the PSU Ticket Office at 620-235-4796.

---Pitt State---

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

'Partners in Progress' Community Campaign to kick off

The annual Pittsburg State University ‘Partners in Progress’ Community Campaign will kick off Tuesday, March 4, with a breakfast and a message for community businesses that supporting PSU is an investment in the success of the entire area. The kick-off will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom.

This is the 22nd for the Community Campaign, a private fund-raising program that encourages Pittsburg area businesses to make financial contributions for student scholarships and academic needs at PSU.

Last year, the campaign contributed to the PSU Foundation’s ability to award nearly $2 million in student scholarship aid. The campaign will run this year through March 14.

The chairpersons of this year’s campaign are Kevin and Frances Mitchelson of Wheeler and Mitchelson, Chartered in Pittsburg.

“I hope other business leaders will join us and support the university’s Community Campaign,” Kevin Mitchelson said. “PSU is a significant part of our local and regional economy, and a strong university ensures a strong business community. We need one another to thrive.”

At Tuesday’s breakfast, the university will honor Harvey and Sharon Dean with the Rex Crowley Outstanding Partner in Progress Award. The award is presented to civic leaders in the Pittsburg community who have been outstanding partners with the university. The award is named in honor of Rex Crowley, whose career as both a local banker and as a fund-raising volunteer for PSU is well known in the community.

The Deans, owners of PITSCO, are lifetime members of the President’s Club, charter members of the Heritage Society, and members of the Crimson and Gold Society, the Centennial Society and the Friends of the Veterans Memorial.

During the Partners in Progress Campaign, university development officers make personal visits to businesses and professionals. Businesses that make gifts to the campaign are identified by campaign emblems on their windows. Donors also receive public recognition through campaign materials.

For more information, contact Holly Kent, director of Annual Giving, at 620-235-6096, or at

---Pitt State---

PSU wins national honor for campus internationalization

NAFSA: Association of International Educators, announced today that Pittsburg State University is a recipient of the 2008 Sen. Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization. Four other universities also received the award. They are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Valparaiso University, Nebraska Wesleyan University and Goucher College. The five will be featured in “Internationalizing the Campus 2008: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities,” which will be published this fall. The awardees will also be recognized at the NAFSA annual conference in Washington, D.C.

According to NAFSA, its annual report “recognizes institutions that are leaders in the growing effort across higher education to better prepare students for a global economy and an interconnected world.”

Chuck Olcese, director of International Programs and Services at PSU, says the university is being honored for its internationalization work in the classroom, its efforts to offer international programming to the community, and its work in reaching out to school districts.

“It’s bigger than just recruiting international students,” Olcese said, praising academic departments across campus for implementing new programs that allow students to study abroad. “This is a really nice recognition for everyone who has been supportive of the international programs at Pitt State. It shows the high level of collaboration and the activity we have in the Four States region.”

The number of PSU students who take advantage of study abroad opportunities has consistently been on the rise, growing by 25 percent since 2001. Last year, 117 students studied abroad in 17 different countries. At the same time, international enrollment at PSU has also grown. This spring, 437 international students are enrolled at PSU, an 8.2 percent increase over last year.

“I am impressed with the university’s commitment to internationalization, which is so important to many of our students who have grown up in the Midwest,” said Dr. William Ivy, dean of enrollment management and student success. “It’s great that this prestigious organization has recognized PSU and will help tell our story nationwide.”

In a release issued this morning, NAFSA said the Sen. Paul Simon Award “recognizes outstanding and innovative efforts in campus internationalization.” The award is named for the late Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), who was a strong supporter of international education throughout his life. Other recent winners of the award are Purdue University, Michigan State University, the University of Kansas, Georgia Tech, and the University of Oklahoma.

For more information on NAFSA, visit their Web site at

For information on international programs at PSU, call the Office of International Programs and Services at 620-235-4680 or visit them online at

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dad's secret treasure was poetry

It wasn’t until after Kevin Gray's father died in 1997 that he discovered a talent his father had that he had never shared with his son. After Harold L. Gray died, Kevin found the yellowed, handwritten poems that his father had written while he was a student at Pittsburg State University (then Kansas State Teachers College) between 1936 and his graduation in 1941.

Kevin Gray will talk about his father and the poems he has assembled for a book he has published, "To the Prairie and to God," at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Special Collections area of Axe Library. Gray's visit is sponsored by the PSU Department of English.

"Part of my 'song and dance' has to do with not losing your passion in life," Gray said. "Dad stopped writing in 1941. He taught for a year, went to war, earned a master's from NYU, taught college for a time in upstate New York, and then spent the rest of his years in the business world. He just simply stopped writing poetry. And he was good, too!"

Gray said his father published several of his poems in the Collegio in a column called 'Scribblers.'

Like his father, Gray attended PSU. He was an English major and, like his father, wrote for the Collegio. The similarity of their paths makes the fact that the elder Gray never shared his poetry with his son even more puzzling.

"He never told me about that, even when I worked on (the Collegio) staff," Gray said.

Kevin Gray graduated in 1976 and went on to become an English and journalism teacher at Paola High School for 30 years.

Gray said he has been looking forward to bringing his father's poetry back to campus "for a long time."

"He loved the college so much. Both my mother (class of 1942) and my father went to college there, as did my wife (1975) and myself," Gray said.

Gray's presentation is free and open to the public.

---Pitt State---

Monday, February 25, 2008

Faculty asked to give their 'last' lecture

When Jason Wright, a senior education major from Columbus, Kan., saw a presentation on “The Last Lecture” at a conference for residence hall assistants, he knew it was something he wanted to bring to the Pittsburg State University campus. At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, six members of the PSU faculty who have been asked to imagine that this is their last opportunity to talk to students, will share their best advice. The lectures will take place in the Dellinger Hall Underground.

Around the country, students like Wright have been inspired by the story of Randy Pausch, a member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, whose “last lecture” has generated national attention, including millions of hits on YouTube and Facebook. Last lecture series, in which faculty are invited to imagine what they would say to students if they knew they were about to die have become popular on college campuses. For Pausch, his lecture in Sept. 2007 was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old professor, who had been battling pancreatic cancer, had been told by doctors that he could measure the rest of his life in mere months. Pausch titled his lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.”

Today Pausch’s inspiring lecture can be found on YouTube and other social networking sites. It has been translated into several other languages and is being made into a book.

Dr. Julie Samuels, director of PSU’s Honors College and a member of the faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said she is thinking of her own legacy as she thinks about what she wants to say to students.

“I think my take on this is that we are searching for a reason to exist and I believe it is vital to let our lives speak to our passion,” Samuels said. “As I prepare for this event, I am thinking about what I want my legacy to be in this life. I want to share my desire to live life to the fullest making sure that I make a positive difference in the lives of people.”

In addition to Samuels, other faculty who are slated to speak are: J.T. Knoll, director of Student Prevention and Wellness; Dr. Mark Johnson, a member of the faculty in the Department of Technology Management; Jack Kennedy, who recently retired from the Department of English; Dennis Jameson – an officer with University Police and Parking Services; and Dr. Howard R. Smith, a member of the faculty and interim chairman of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Wright said he has hopes that the PSU Last Lecture Showcase is successful enough to become a full-fledged lecture series.

For more information, contact Wright by e-mail at
jswright@pittstate.edu. For more on Randy Pausch’s lecture, including links to his personal Web site, go to http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/.

---Pitt State---

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Flu boosts visits to Student Health Center

It’s that time of year when sniffles, coughing and headaches are making the rounds – and causing everyone to think twice about what they touch and where they go. With college campuses being a gathering place for people and germs alike, health services providers at Pittsburg State University are staying on top of what looks to be an area outbreak.

In the last two weeks, PSU Student Health Services have treated nearly 1,000 students, many with influenza, respiratory conditions, and in some cases, pneumonia. Dr. Donald Holsinger, medical director of the center, says despite the overwhelming numbers, the staff members who aren’t falling ill themselves are keeping up with the demand.

“It has been terribly busy,” he said. “In most communities, these things run in a three to six week cycle, and I believe we’re in week three now, so we still have a few weeks to go.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have identified 44 states as having an influenza epidemic this year. Predominately, most of the problems for PSU students have been respiratory and treatable with bed rest, good nutrition, and hydration. Holsinger says the odds of a student (elementary age and up) contracting the illness are greater out in public than in a dormitory.

“By the nature of their social activities and schedules, there’s a better chance they’ll get it somewhere other than where they live,” he said. “I don’t think where a student stays is a risk factor.”

This year’s cases are much more numerous, he says, because influenza is often cyclical. The United States experienced a light infection cycle last year, and CDC reports show it’s a much bigger problem nationwide this year. Some strains have also been resistant to this year’s vaccines and unaffected by medication. Although students at Pitt State have sought treatment in droves, Holsinger says no case has been serious enough for hospitalization.

“We’ve treated a lot who have been moderately ill, and some have been treated at home, but no case has been too serious,” he said. “We’re just hoping it eases up soon.”

For more information on staying healthy this season, go to
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/. Dr. Holsinger can be reached by calling Student Health Services at 620-235-4452.

---Pitt State---

PSU leads Kansas universities in nursing student enrollment

With health care concerns mounting over nursing shortages in Kansas, a report released this week shows that Pittsburg State University is leading the effort to educate new nurses.

In a compilation prepared and released by the Kansas Board of Regents, PSU is recognized for admitting more undergraduate nursing students than any other university in the state of Kansas. Pitt State admitted 46 additional BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) students during the 2007 fiscal year – five times more than similarly sized universities. In total, the 20 Kansas community colleges and universities compared in the report saw an increase of 507 additional BSN students that year.

The increase in program capacity was made possible by the Kansas Nursing Initiative, a 10-year, $30 million state funding and matching grant program that was signed into law in 2006. In the recently released report, the statewide effort to recruit student nurses surpassed the Kansas Legislature’s nursing enrollment goal by 103 percent.

Mary Carol Pomatto, chairperson of the PSU Department of Nursing, says in addition to having more funds to education nursing students, the increase in numbers is the result of bolstered recruitment efforts.

“The recipients of the care provided by our nursing graduates will get the ultimate benefit,” Pomatto said. “We’ve been honored to receive the funding to grow our program, and we are strategically planning our next steps.”

---Pitt State---

Spring enrollment numbers reveal 2 percent increase

For the fourth year in a row, Pittsburg State University has recorded an increase in spring enrollment numbers, according to an announcement made today by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Total headcount is up 2.1 percent, from 6,422 students last spring to 6,560 students currently. Increases continue across the board: this semester, PSU has recorded more graduate students, more credit hours being taken by the student body, and more students being classified as full-time.

“It’s another semester where we are seeing comfortable and continuous growth,” said Dr. Tom Bryant, president of PSU. “We are keeping up with the needs of the student body while continuing to make room for future students through parking additions and new facilities. I’m very proud that more and more students are seeing the value in Pitt State.”

While total headcount went up, the number of full-time equivalent students rose even more. Pitt State saw a 3 percent increase in students taking a full-time coursework load, 6,147 students this semester compared to 5,967 last spring. This means the university is not only seeing more students, but more students who want to attend full-time.

This semester, the largest increases are being seen in graduate students. Graduate student enrollment is up an impressive 7.5 percent over last spring, and the number of graduate students enrolled in full-time hours is up 11.2 percent. Peggy Snyder, dean of the College of Continuing and Graduate Studies, attributes the increase to an increased awareness of what graduate degrees offer.

“We have made a strong effort to let people know that beyond our great undergraduate programs, we offer graduate programs that make students more marketable for the jobs of today,” Snyder said. “There are many jobs now where having a master’s degree, if not a minimum requirement, is a great asset to a job candidate.”

Significant increases in spring semester new freshmen and international students were recorded, as well. This semester, the student body is enrolled in a total of 86,601 credit hours, an increase of 2.5 percent over last spring.

For more information about enrollment, contact Dr. William Ivy, dean of enrollment management and student success, at 620-235-4111.

---Pitt State---

Thursday's band concert rescheduled

The PSU Department of Music has postponed Thursday's Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds concert due to inclement weather. The concert has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Pittsburg's Memorial Auditorium.

---Pitt State---

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Faculty Author Reading to feature two poets

Two published poets and faculty members at Pittsburg State University will present a poetry reading at the second annual Faculty Author Reading. Dr. Stephen Meats, chair of the Department of English, will read with Laura Lee Washburn, director of creative writing, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Governor’s Room at the Overman Student Center.

Meats is the author of “Looking for the Pale Eagle,” a book of poems centering on birds, wildlife, and the landscape of the Great Plains. Washburn was the winner of the 1996 “Poet Lore” John Williams Andrews Narrative Poetry Contest. She is the author of the poetry collections “Watching the Contortionists,” and “This Good Warm Place: Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition,” and has earned a number of poetry prize nominations and honors for her work.

The reading is free and is co-sponsored by the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series and the Student Fee Council. For more information, contact the Department of English at 620-235-4689.

---Pitt State---

Congresswoman Boyda to visit PSU

U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Boyda (Kansas Second Disctrict) will visit the PSU campus Thursday for a tour of the Kansas Technology Center and the Kansas Polymer Research Center. Boyda will be here to discuss the Omnibus Appropriations Bill of 2008. The bill awards more than $1.3 million in federal funds for technology and research for the KPRC and KTC. Boyda worked with Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback to secure the funding in the bill for PSU.
Her schedule will begin at 11 a.m. at KTC and will include a visit to the KPRC. From 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Boyda will stop by Kelce Hall to view the Volunteer Tax Assistance/Preparation program at PSU.

---Pitt State---

Monday, February 18, 2008

On the hunt: math lecture compares relationship between predators, prey

A mathematical system that can be compared to predators hunting prey in the wild will be the topic of the next guest speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences Lecture Series at Pittsburg State University.

Dr. Yaping Liu, a professor in the PSU Department of Mathematics, is the third speaker for this year’s new lecture series. He will present “Limited Cycles in Predator-Prey Systems,” at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The lecture will be held in Grubbs Hall Room 109.

Predator-prey systems are mathematical models of how predators and their prey interact in nature. When predators eat prey, it reduces the food supply. If the number of prey is reduced too far, the predators will starve thereby reducing their numbers and allowing the number of prey to increase. Increasing prey, however, will allow for an increase in the predator population.

In his talk, Dr. Liu plans to discuss a few well-known theories such as Volterra's paradox, a phenomenon discovered in certain predator-prey models that exhibit cyclical behavior.

Light refreshments at 3 p.m. will precede the free lecture. For more information, contact Dr. Liu at 620-235-4402.

---Pitt State---

Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds groups to perform

The Pittsburg State University Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds groups will perform their first concert of the spring semester this week.

The free concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium. Pieces performed by the Wind Ensemble will include “Joy” by Joseph Curiale, “Poem” by Scott Boerma, “Variations on a Shaker Melody” by Aaron Copland, “Emperata Overture” by Claude T. Smith, and “Symphonic Episodes” by Brian Balmages. The Chamber Winds will perform “Sound the Bells” by John Williams, “Sanctuary” and “Postcard” by Frank Ticheli, “Vientos y Tangos” by Michael Gandalfi and “Strange Humors” by John Mackey.

Conductors include Dr. Craig Fuchs, director of bands, Mr. Douglas Whitten, associate director of bands, and Mr. Nathan Froebe, graduate student conductor.

---Pitt State---

Friday, February 15, 2008

PSU, Seward County Community College work to make transfer easier

Pittsburg State University and Seward County Community College are making it easier for community college graduates to earn their four-year degrees. PSU and SCCC officials signed an articulation agreement this week that makes it possible for SCCC graduates with an associate of applied science degree to enter PSU’s bachelor of applied science degree programs as juniors.

Dr. Tom Bryant, president of Pittsburg State University, and Dr. Duane M. Dunn, president of Seward County Community College, signed the articulation agreement at the Kansas Board of Regents office in Topeka this week.

“It is important for the citizens of Kansas that the state’s universities, community colleges and technical colleges work together to meet the educational needs of all Kansans,” Bryant said. “This agreement and similar agreements that Pittsburg State University will sign with community colleges across the state will help broaden opportunities for Kansas citizens to earn baccalaureate degrees, improve their standard of living and contribute to the economy of the state.”

The articulation agreement with Seward County Community College is the first of at least eight similar agreements that PSU officials say they expect to sign with other community colleges across Kansas this spring. Called the AAS to BAS Pathway Program, the agreements align the community college associate of applied science degrees with bachelor of applied science degrees offered in PSU’s College of Technology.

For more information on the AAS to BAS Pathway Program, contact Dr. Robert Masters, director of community college and workforce partnerships, at 620-235-4172, rmasters@pittstate.edu. For more information about programs available in the PSU College of Technology, visit their Web site at www.pittstate.edu/tech, or call the department at 620-235-4365.

---Pitt State---

In photo: Seward County Community College President Duane Dunn, left, and Pittsburg State University President Tom Bryant sign the agreement. Looking on, left to right, are: Cynthia Rapp, SCCC dean of instruction; Celeste Donovan, SCCC dean of student services; Donna Shank, vice chairperson of the Kansas Board of Regents; and Steve Scott, PSU vice president for academic affairs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Admission Office recruiting new student ambassadors

Students from across campus are invited to become some of the university’s most visible spokespeople.

Applications to become a PSU Student Ambassador are now available at the Office of Admission in 107 Horace Mann, or at
www.pittstate.edu/admit/. The Student Ambassador organization is searching for students from all disciplines and organizations across campus. Students must have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and must have attended PSU for at least one full semester prior to the current semester.

Ambassador responsibilities include serving one hour a week in the Office of Admission, visiting with prospective students, taking visitors to campus appointments, and giving campus tours. Ambassadors also assist with on-campus events.

Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, March 4. Applicants are required to attend one of the two selection workshops set for 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12.

For more information, contact Heather Eckstein at 620-235-4265.

---Pitt State---

Global pianist to perform at Pitt State

Internationally acclaimed pianist Enrico Elisi will present a program featuring the works of Mozart, Clementi, Berg, and Schubert in a concert on Feb. 19 at Pittsburg State University.

The concert, part of the 2007-2008 PSU Solo & Chamber Music Series, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in McCray Hall. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for those over 65 and under 18. Full-time PSU students are free. Tickets are available at the PSU Ticket Office or at the door.

Elisi, a teacher of master classes who has presented throughout the United States, South America, Asia, and Europe, is currently on the faculty of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He holds a guest professorship at the China Academy of Arts, in Hangzhou, China, where he is also an artistic adviser. He has premiered works at debut recitals in France, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and at the 4th International Festival of Contemporary Music in Lima, Peru.

In 2005, he directed the Piano Institute of the Las Vegas Music Festival. He later co-founded the Green Valley Chamber Music Festival of which he is artistic director. In addition, he is active as an adjudicator of piano competitions such as the Tremplin International, the Concour de Musique du Canada, and the Iowa Piano Competition. Mr. Elisi received his graduate degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. He also holds two Italian degrees from the Conservatory of Florence and the International Piano Academy of Imola, where he studied with Lazar Berman, Alexander Lonquich, and Boris Petruchansky.

---Pitt State---

Black History Awareness activities scheduled

Several groups on the Pittsburg State University campus including the Black Student Association, the Department of Art, Axe Library, and the PSU Tilford Group have joined together to promote several Black History Awareness activities from mid-February to mid-March.

In addition to the activities below, Axe Library will feature “African Influence to the Western World,” displays for the next several weeks. The following events are free and open to the public:

Monday, Feb. 18 – Poetry reading organized by members of the Black Student Association. The reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the U Club. At 7:50 p.m. in the U Club, singer-songwriter Dr. Joey Pogue (Communication) will deliver a musical performance entitled “Influence of the Blues and Black Music to the Musical and Narrative Structure of Country, Rock and Folk Music.” Pogue will perform some of his own original work and demonstrate how the Blues and Black culture have influenced different types of music.

Tuesday, Feb. 26 – Dr. Steve Harmon (History) will present the lecture “African Influence in the Americas,” at 2 p.m. in the Governor’s Room. Harmon is a Fulbright scholar and expert on African History and Diaspora, Islamic influence in Western Africa, Middle East and Islam.

Monday, March 3 – Randy Roberts, university archivist and curator of special collections at Axe Library, will present “Black History of Pittsburg,” at 2 p.m. in the Governor’s Room at the Overman Student Center. Roberts has made multiple presentations throughout the campus and community on local history.

Thursday, March 13 – Lydia S. Thompson, a ceramic artist, will be visiting the Department of Art. Thompson creates work that appreciates African American identity and that centers on human existence and its imprint on the Earth.

For more details, contact Ananda Jayawardhana at 620-235-4414 or at

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Auditions set for new CAPS-13 TV show

Students skilled in acting who are interested in getting some TV time will get their opportunity this week.

Auditions will be held for “The Complex,” an original TV drama written by PSU communication students, from 2-5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 and from 9-11 a.m. and 2-8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. The auditions will be held in Room 123 of Whitesitt Hall.

Leo Hudson, assistant professor of communication, describes the show as a drama about two students living in an off-campus apartment. The show calls for three to four college-aged men and women who will star in reoccurring roles. So far, a handful of episodes have been written, and more are scheduled. The show is penned, edited, and directed by students in the Communication 480 class.

Filming will take place around the campus and community and will begin in March, running through mid-April. Hudson says he is anticipating the show will air on CAPS-13 later this year.

For more information or to sign up for a time, go to 123 Whitesitt Hall or call Hudson at 620-235-6507.

---Pitt State---

Friday, February 08, 2008

Presidential campaign heightens students' interest in politics

Dr. Mark Peterson can remember a time not long ago that the political scene was an area few of his students wanted to tread.

Even as recently as 2004 when Peterson, a political science professor at PSU, was selected to attend the Democratic National Convention as a Kansas delegate, he found little interest in politics among the young. This year’s presidential campaign, however, seems to have sparked students’ interest in politics both in and out of the classroom.

“I am seeing such a change right now with our young people,” said Peterson, who attended the Democratic caucus this week in Franklin, Kan., and witnessed the impressive numbers of students who showed up to be counted for either Senator Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. “Given everything that’s happening nationally, there’s been a hell of a lot of energy generated. My students have been discussing it a lot.”

Nationally, young voters are having an impact. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, voter turnout among people under 30 was double to triple that of 2000.

One Pitt State student reflects the heightened interest in this year’s election process.

Katie Merando, a sophomore nursing major, was selected along with 11 other Southeast Kansas residents Tuesday night to be a second district delegate. A strong Obama supporter, Merando will campaign at the convention in Topeka on April 12 for a chance to be a state delegate. If chosen to be one of the state delegates, she will attend the National Democratic Convention in September.

She may have been the youngest delegate selected at this week’s caucus, but Merando, a member of the PSU Young Democrats, says there are plenty of young voters who are taking part in the political process.

“I would say that for a lot of the people I know, it’s because we have a candidate that can give us the change we need,” she said. “It’s a chance to unify everyone. I’m very political so I get crazy at election time, but for my friends to get excited about it now, that’s amazing to me.”

Peterson, who was also selected this week as a second district delegate, says his experience at the 2004 national convention proved very useful in his professorship at the university – and something he hopes to experience again this year. Republican or Democrat, Peterson says that even if the candidate a young voter supports doesn’t win, he hopes it doesn’t disillusion them from remaining politically active.

“It is a possibility that if their candidate loses they may feel alienated and disengaged, but I hope not,” he said. “I say that as a citizen and a political scientist. I hope they remain involved even if they see that the process doesn’t always seem to reflect the will of the people.”

---Pitt State---

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Free tax preparation offered through PSU

Volunteers with Pittsburg State University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program are getting their pencils ready once again this tax season.

The university is now offering its annual tax assistance program to those who qualify. The free tax preparation is available for PSU students, low- to moderate-income families, those over the age of 60, and to members of the military. In addition to the free preparation assistance, VITA also offers free electronic filing.

The tax preparation is performed by volunteers with the PSU Business & Technology Institute and the Department of Accounting. The VITA site is located on the 1st floor computer lab of Kelce Hall on the PSU campus.

Tax preparation times are as follows: Feb. 5, 12, 19, and 26 from 5-9 p.m.; March 2 from 1-5 p.m. and March 4, 11, and 25 from 5-9 p.m.; and April 1 and 8 from 5-9 p.m. and April 6, 13, and 15 from 1-5 p.m.

For more information, call 620-235-4920 or 620-235-4561.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

College of Technology welcomes big donation

Thanks to a gift from Caterpillar and Martin Tractor Co., students in Pittsburg State University’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment Program will soon be learning the inner workings of one of the construction industry’s most important workhorses.

Company representatives will present their donation of a 160 M motor grader at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. The presentation will take place in the Southwest Rotunda of the Kansas Technology Center. Harry Craig, president of Martin Tractor, as well as nearly a dozen PSU alumni who work for the company, will attend the presentation.

“It’s a phenomenal donation,” said Tim Dell, assistant professor of automotive technology and the college’s diesel and heavy equipment coordinator. “It adds credibility to our program, it helps with recruiting students and building relationships with other industries, and it continues to grow an already strong program.”

Caterpillar and Martin Tractor began discussions about the donation last fall. Motor graders, which are often used to smooth the ground during road maintenance, are commonly used at construction sites and by municipalities to improve streets or remove snow. The donated motor grader, which is the newest technology on the market, has 220 horsepower, is controlled with a joystick (rather than a steering wheel) for easier control and can be equipped with laser beam and GPS systems. The machine is nearly 30 feet long, weighs more than 35,000 pounds, and is a value of nearly half a million dollars.

Dell says that combined with earlier donations of a Challenger tractor and a D6 dozer, the companies have been responsible for nearly $1 million in equipment gifts to the university. Pitt State features the only four-year Caterpillar “Think Bigger” program in the world, which allows students who have graduated from one the accredited Caterpillar two-year programs to complete their bachelor’s degrees in four semesters.

“With the motor grader, students are going to be learning about an advanced hydraulic system, engines, mechanical systems, and more,” Dell said, adding that construction students may be able to use the machine in the future.

“When you follow the trends of education, you’ll see that necessary equipment like cars, trucks and tractors are very difficult to obtain for classroom and laboratory instruction. It’s a tremendous benefit when you can get that kind of machine donated.”

---Pitt State---

Monday, February 04, 2008

Audience to get rare symphonic performance of Russian work

The Southeast Kansas Symphony will treat audiences to one of Igor Stravinsky’s rarely performed works “L’Histoire du Soldat,” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 in McCray Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

The concert will also include Stravinsky’s “Fanfare for a New Theatre” for two trumpets and Mendelssohn’s “Sinfonia No. 9,” performed by the SEK Symphony strings.

Stravinsky, a Russian composer, was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. He wrote many stylistically diverse compositions over the years including one ballet that provoked a riot at its premiere. Translated as “Soldier’s Tale,” the performance of “L’Histoire du Soldat,” will be presented at PSU by nine musicians including several Department of Music faculty.

For more information, go to
www.seksymphony.org or call Stella Hastings at 620-235-4469.

(Shown at right: the L'Histoire du Soldat performers.)

---Pitt State---