Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
PSU Home | PSU Search | GUS / Logins | A-Z Index | Campus Map | Contact Info. | Comments | Help

News @ PSU

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PSU president announces retirement plans

Dr. Tom Bryant, president of Pittsburg State University, today announced his decision to retire from the university presidency at the conclusion of the academic year or at such time as the Kansas Board of Regents finds a suitable replacement. Bryant made the announcement as part of his annual address to the faculty preceding the opening of the fall semester.

Bryant, the eighth president of PSU, was appointed president of the university on July 1, 1999. Previously, he served as interim president of the university from May until December in 1995.

Bryant said he chose to step down at this particular time because the university was strong, growing and well positioned to meet the challenges ahead.

“This is a good time in the life of Pittsburg State University,” Bryant said. “Enrollment is healthy, relationships with alumni and the community are strong, we have accomplished some major projects and others are well on their way. We have excellent leaders in key positions across campus who are prepared to continue the progress Pittsburg State University has made.”

Bryant said he was confident that the next president of the university would receive the support of alumni, students, faculty and staff and friends of the university.

In an e-mail today, Bryant wrote that the decision to retire as president of the university was not an easy one that he and his wife, Koeta, considered for some time.

“Koeta and I have discussed this at length and we believe the time is right to begin the orderly change of leadership at Pittsburg State University,” Bryant wrote.

“Serving as president of Pittsburg State University has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I can’t imagine a more satisfying endeavor,” Bryant said. “It has been a great joy to work with thousands of bright, talented and energetic students. They are a daily reminder of why Pittsburg State University exists and the value of what we do.”

Bryant took a moment to acknowledge the contribution of his wife, Koeta, to the university.

“The president’s spouse is too often an unsung hero,” Bryant said. “Koeta has been a full partner in our service to Pittsburg State University and her love of Pittsburg State and the PSU family is as deep as my own.”

Bryant joined the PSU family in 1970 as an associate professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. He was named chairman of that department in 1985. In 1992, he was named acting dean of the College of Education and in 1993, he was named dean. From July 1, 1998, until May 31, 1999, Bryant served as interim executive director for the Kansas Board of Regents.

When Bryant stepped in as interim president in 1995, the university was in the midst of an unplanned change in leadership. Efforts to construct the Kansas Technology Center were threatened by the need to raise more than $10 million to complete the funding package for the large project. Bryant was instrumental in raising the necessary private dollars and the KTC was dedicated in 1997.

Since that time, the university has continued to grow and a number of major projects have been completed.

Last fall, Pittsburg State set an enrollment record of more than 7,000 students. New buildings since 1999 include the Family and Consumer Sciences building, the PSU Veterans Memorial, The Tyler Research Center, and the student recreation center/National Guard armory, which opened this summer. Additionally, a number of historic buildings have been renovated including Russ Hall. Carnie Smith Stadium has undergone two expansions during this time, including the addition of luxury sky boxes on both sides. A $1.7 million video board is now under construction. A major renovation of McCray Hall, home to the Department of Music, began this summer. Work will begin on a new student health center in this fall.

Private support for the university has increased dramatically during President Bryant’s term. PSU Foundation assets have increased from $27.2 million in 1999 to more than $65 million today and student scholarships supported by private gifts now top $2 million annually.

Bryant earned a bachelor’s degree from Drury College in Springfield, Mo., a master’s degree from Pittsburg State University and an Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas. Prior to joining the PSU faculty in 1970, Bryant taught and coached at Bronaugh, Mo., High School, Pittsburg High School and Wayne State College in Nebraska.

Donna Shank, chairperson of the Kansas Board of Regents, praised Bryant for his leadership.

“Under Tom’s leadership, Pittsburg State set student enrollment records, witnessed impressive campus construction projects, and experienced incredible increases in private giving," Shank said. "We are certainly thankful that Tom will continue to serve as Pittsburg State’s president through the end of the academic year. In the meantime, I anticipate that the Board will soon formalize the process to conduct the search for a new president, and this discussion could take place as early as next month’s Board meeting.

"It’s incredibly difficult to imagine Pittsburg State without Tom Bryant. However, I sincerely wish Tom and his wife, Koeta, all the very best as they move into retirement.”