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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Jack Overman is proudly passionate about PSU

  • It took die-hard fans to brave the wintery conditions at Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday during Pittsburg State University’s playoff game against Washburn University, and there isn’t a more passionate member of that fan base than Pittsburg luminary Jack Overman.

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  • It took die-hard fans to brave the wintery conditions at Carnie Smith Stadium Saturday during Pittsburg State University’s playoff game against Washburn University, and there isn’t a more passionate member of that fan base than Pittsburg luminary Jack Overman.
    Born Aug. 23, 1918, Overman, now 93-years-old, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Pittsburg State University since he began his freshman year in the fall of 1936. He was a yell leader during his tenure as a student, and was student body president in 1940. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at PSU, as did his late wife and two children. For 36 years he worked on campus, including a long stint as the manager of the student center, which was renamed in his honor after he retired in 1984. And every Friday before a PSU homecoming football game, the community celebrates Jack Overman Day.
    And there is no question that he would venture into the blustery rain and cold to cheer on the team, just as he has done on fall Saturdays for decades.
    “I have a real passion for this university,” Overman said Saturday in Gorilla Village as he waited for the playoff game between the Gorillas and the Ichabods to kick off. “I don’t care who or what it is or if it’s hot or cold. I’m going to be there.”
    Passion is his theme, and Overman has been more than just involved with PSU; he practically lives on campus. In 1954 Overman bought a house built across the street from Willard Hall in 1916 by math professor J.A. Shirk, whom he called “a godfather of the university.” He has lived there ever since, enjoying the sounds of students going to class every day.
    “It’s been a lifetime of living on campus,” said Overman, who was decked out in a rain slicker and his trademark red and yellow scarf and hat. “People tell me they don’t know how I can live with all that action, but I’ve been a part of it since 1936, and I can’t live without it. It’s a passion. I just love this university, I love Pittsburg and I love this area. I have a passion for the students and I enjoy seeing the atmosphere of student life.”
    A devoted Gorilla football fan, Overman has traveled to Florence, Ala., for nearly every national championship game PSU has played in.
    “I’ve been to all but one,” he said, adding that he gave head coach Tim Beck some words of encouragement before Saturday’s game. “I told Coach I don’t have a lot of time left, and I sure would like to go to Florence one more time. We’ve had a good year, and if God lets us beat the Ichabods one more time, that would be icing on the cake.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Football isn’t the only thing Overman loves about Pitt State. A popular and well-know fixture on campus, he can be seen on any given day walking on the Oval, attending university events and chatting with students. He said he feeds off their energy and enthusiasm for learning.
    “Being around these beautiful young people has given me the stamina to keep going,” he said.
    The university is a reflection of his city, Overman said, and it wouldn’t be as successful as it is without it.
    “Pittsburg is a very, very giving and loving community,” he said. “I don’t know of any projects we’ve undertaken that we haven’t gotten built. They’ve always turned out successfully.”
    And the city, he continued, is a reflection of the people who inhabit it, people he loves.
    “This is all possible because of their love of their community,” he said. “People of all types give back. It’s one for all and all for one.
    “Some citizens are very wealthy and some aren’t, but I haven’t seen a project they haven’t backed,” he continued. “They know what the objective is. They want to see this community continue to be the type of community it is. Everyone is proud of Pittsburg and the community it has become.”
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