Kati Karleskint presents Brian Jones and Amanda Sukraw, co-chairs of the 33rd Annual Community Campaign, with gorilla statues in recognition of their leadership.
The annual campaign began in 1985 with the incorporation of the PSU Foundation. But the partnership between the university and the community dates back to the turn of the 19th century.
"It was community and university leaders who, in 1907, worked together to help secure state funding for the construction of what would become Russ Hall,” noted PSU President Steve Scott. “They understood the power of community and knew the transformational change that an institution like Pittsburg State would have upon the region."
Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Blake Benson said college communities across the nation look to Pittsburg as a model for its town-gown relationship. And, he noted that the NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships are a perfect, visible example of that partnership.
The Championships kicked off last night and continue through Saturday in the Robert W. Plaster Center — the eighth week in a row the center has hosted large events. These events will draw thousands of competitors, coaches, and spectators before it's done, all of whom are having a positive economic impact on Pittsburg.
"Talk about a dream come true, a vision fulfilled," Scott said. "I think people walk away amazed at the things we get done in this community. Today is a great day to say thank you to those in this room and in our community."
The Partners in Progress Community Campaign kickoff allows Pittsburg State University to thank the more than 200 businesses that support its students.
“The university and the community have a partnership that can turn dreams into reality,” said Becky May, executive director of University Development. “For proof, just look at the Plaster and Bicknell Centers on campus, or the Block22 project in downtown Pittsburg. We want to make certain our local businesses and residents understand just how important they are to our mission of transforming lives.”
City Commissioner Patrick O'Bryan presented Scott with a proclamation that March was to be known as PSU Partners in Progress month in Pittsburg in observance of the strong bond between the two entities.
Scott presented the Pritchett Trust Board of Directors with the 2018 Rex Crowley Outstanding Partner in Progress Award. The award recognizes a member of the community who has "rendered outstanding service" to PSU and the Pittsburg community.
The Pritchett Trust has contributed more than $2 million for PSU scholarships and programs since 1996.
Among the beneficiaries: the Kelce College of Business student organization, Enactus (Entrepreneurial Action in Us), who have been part of Pittsburg State’s history for the past 25 years.
To illustrate the impact the group is having in the community and beyond, Enactus members were the featured speakers at the kickoff luncheon, presenting a detailed look at projects that helped an orphanage in Haiti, established a homeless shelter in Pittsburg, and bolstered the support that children in need received in local schools.
The event also was an opportunity to introduce the co-chairs of this year's campaign, who are Brian Jones of Jones Heritage Realtors and Amanda Sukraw of Community National Bank and Trust.
Jones and Sukraw said that their passion for strengthening the community led them to support projects such as the Kelce College of Business renovation and expansion and Block22. Likewise, the University and its faculty, staff, and students will inject more than $600 million of total spending into the community each year, creating a circle of financial support.
To learn more about the Partners in Progress Community Campaign visit giveto.pittstate.edu or contact the Office of Development at 620-235-4769.
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