Dr. Donald Holsinger and Pittsburg State University have been involved with each other, to the mutual benefit of both, for more than 50 years.

Dr. Donald Holsinger and Pittsburg State University have been involved with each other, to the mutual benefit of both, for more than 50 years.

The longtime Pittsburg physician is a 1960 PSU graduate, has been a university employee and received an Outstanding Young Alumni Award. On Thursday he will add another PSU honor to his collection.

He and Don Smith, a Campus Christians minister, will receive the Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award during the annual Apple Day convocation, slated at 3 p.m. Thursday in McCray Recital Hall.

Holsinger noted that PSU has played a major role in his life and in the life of his wife, Kay, also a 1960 graduate of the university.

“The university was one of the major reasons why I located here after I completed my training and my military obligation,” Holsinger said. “We were in  a lot of activities while we were students and had a lot of fond memories. We looked at a lot of places before I established my practice and we compared them all to Pittsburg. None of them measured up.”

After graduating from PSU, Holsinger received his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, then had his internship at Madigan General Hospital in Tacoma, Wash., and served his residency in internal medicine at William Beaumont General Hospital, El Paso, Texas.

He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was chief of the Irwin Army Hospital at Fort Riley. He was recognized as the Outstanding Clinician of the 5th Army and received the Meritorious Service Award.

Holsinger entered his private practice in internal medicine in July of 1971 in Pittsburg.

“The new Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center had opened in May of 1971, and that was another reason why I chose to come here,” he said.

He served the hospital well, as president of the Mt. Carmel staff and, when the position of vice president for medical affairs was established throughout all Via Christi facilities, Holsinger was the first to hold it. He was awarded the 2003 Laureate Award by the Kansas Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

He  has also been a president of the Mount Carmel Foundation and of the Crawford/Cherokee Medical Society. Holsinger has served a preceptor to medical students and a mentor to premedical students.

But his busy medical career never kept him from his involvement with the university. Holsinger is a lifetime member of the President’s Club and a PSU Foundation Board trustee. He is also a charter member of the Heritage Society and a Friend of the Music Department. He has served as a Community Campaign chairman, is a member of the Gorilla Legislative Network and has participated in the Excellence in Athletics Endowment.

He and his wife has also established the Donald and Kay Holsinger Scholarship at PSU.

Holsinger also played an important role in fundraising for construction of the Bryant Student Health Center, and even worked there, serving as the center’s medical director.

“Dr. Tom Bryant called and asked me for some assistance in getting a new medical director,” Holsinger said. “After some consideration, I asked if I might be considered a candidate.”

Though he had been involved with PSU for so long, working there as medical director gave him a different perspective of the university.

“You don’t really appreciate what a university is until you work there,” Holsinger said. “I  felt such respect for the professors and developed a high regard for the students we have here. They’re very intelligent.”

He retired from the center in July 2011.

“Now I’m doing some volunteer work and trying to catch up on a lot of projects,” Holsinger said. “I’ve not been without something to do.”

He said that he was very honored to receive the Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award, which is named for a longtime PSU faculty member who volunteered his service to the PSU Alumni Association for 22 years. Thomas was the first recipient of the award.

“I knew Ralf J. Thomas as a person and had great respect for him,” Holsinger said.