PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University faculty and staff came together Thursday for the university’s spring convocation.
The convocation event offers a chance for professors, administrators and staff to gather and gear up for the semester. PSU President Dr. Steve Scott — as well as the marketing and communications department — use the event to have a little fun, while also discussing serious concerns for the upcoming semester.
For the past four convocations, PSU has set up the event as a live talk show — like late night television — with Scott as the host. Guests this year included University Professionals Senate President Erin Sullivan, Faculty Senate President Amy Hite, Support Staff Senate President Michael Kloer and KNEA President Laura Lee Washburn.
The four spoke about their goals for the semester, and discussed financial concerns facing the university. The main concern was the effect financials may have on the students.
“We want to make sure our culture on campus and the experience for our students is not negatively affected by the financial concerns we may have,” Sullivan said.
Hite agreed that faculty concerns are geared toward the students.
“The concern among teachers is resources,” she said. “That we’ll be able to afford the resources to keep providing our students with the best education and experience.”
Kloer said wage increases — and the fact that not all staff saw an increase — made some employees feel left out. Scott agreed, citing the way mandatory increases were done at the state level last year as an issue.
The convocation also included PSU’s first student spotlight. Scott spoke with students John Botts, Rae Zeller, Ivan Vasquez, Shelby Bicknell, Creighton Sanders and Emilia Cardenas.
The students spoke about their favorite PSU traditions. For Vasquez — who performs with the pep band — and Gorilla Football Player Sanders, it was the Gorilla Walk.
“Being a football player, walking down and seeing the town and the community there to support you, knowing they are behind you is amazing,” Sanders said. “It always gets me riled up and ready to go.”
Vasquez agreed that there is a culture of support surrounding the university.
“When you come to Pitt State, you are not only joining the university, but joining the town as well,” he said.
Scott’s final guest was former Kansas City Chiefs Player and Chiefs Color Commentator Kendall Gammon. Gammon is a PSU alumni and serves as an ambassador for the university.
As usual, the event included plenty of humorous videos, from a spoof action movie trailer to psych faculty and staff up for the semester, to a man-on-the-street video asking students and staff to describe PSU in one word. An “highlight reel” of Gammon was also shown after his introduction.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.