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Morning Sun
  • PSU president Steve Scott gives 'State of the University' address to PAYP

  • Pittsburg State University is focused on growth at a steady, sustainable level and is fulfilling that mission well, president Steve Scott told a noon luncheon gathering of the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals Monday.

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  • Pittsburg State University is focused on growth at a steady, sustainable level and is fulfilling that mission well, president Steve Scott told a noon luncheon gathering of the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals Monday.
    Using the university’s master plan to outline his vision for Pitt State, Scott concentrated on three topics in his address at the Wilkinson Alumni Center: Enrollment strength, financial stability and economic strength. Strong enrollment and financial stability help Pitt State enhance the state’s economy by producing graduates that are ready to enter the workforce, Scott said.
    “We’re here to help fuel economic strength and growth in Kansas,” Scott said.
    The university, Scott continued, has expanded its footprint slowly but surely into new student markets such as Kansas City and northwest Arkansas. With 7,275 students in the fall 2011 semester, undergraduate enrollment was three students shy of breaking the university record. That’s due in part to an increase in the number of international students enrolled at PSU, Scott said, as well as the inclusion of two counties in northwest Arkansas in the Gorilla Advantage program, which allows students from those counties to pay in-state tuition to attend PSU — several counties in Missouri also participate in the program.
    “Just like in business, we can’t that for granted,” Scott said.
    In its quest for capital improvements, such as a performing arts center and indoor athletic facility, among others, the university is working diligently at “moderately managed growth,” or making improvements without overextending its finances, Scott said. Further, having just returned from meetings with legislators in Washington, Scott said PSU must rely on itself more than ever.
    “It’s important to grow at a rate that we can maintain the quality of the experience our students have,” Scott said. “We didn’t spend a lot all at once. We’ve got to maintain our house and not take in more than we’re putting out.”
    Additionally, PSU has gone from about $40 million in state funding to about $35 million in funding over the past several years. That means the school is increasing its efforts to raise private money so that students don’t have to bear the brunt of the cuts with tuition hikes.
    “We’ve got to do more to raise private money, because costs are going to go up,” Scott said, adding that PSU is looking to increase its own student aid. “We give about $2.5 million a year in scholarships, and we want to grow that.”
    Pitt State also looks to help improve the City of Pittsburg. A healthy community is vital to a strong university, Scott said, and the two entities form an important symbiotic relationship.
    “We can’t just have more jobs at PSU, we need to grow private jobs as well,” Scott said.
    Page 2 of 2 - For example, the College of Business will begin offering itself as a consultant for area business, Scott said. The university also will continue to work closely with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, be a strong proponent of the U.S. Highway 69 project, and advocate to bring businesses to the Pittsburg area.
    “When we recruit faculty and students we want them to have a good quality of life,” Scott said.
    Scott also said the university so far had raised about $14 million toward the construction of a new performing arts center and to expect some sort of announcement in the near future. Additionally, plans for a $14 million expansion of the Overman Student Center are in the development stage.
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