PITTSBURG — When Girard senior Katy Pitts graduates from Pittsburg State in May 2020 with her degree in nursing, it technically will be her second time across the stage; her first time was when her mother, Kim Pitts, was pregnant and walking across the stage to receive her own degree.
Katy’s dad, David, is also a graduate, as is her older sister. Her younger sister hopes to soon be one, too.
On Saturday, they’ll be enjoying a PSU football game together as they often do, but this time they’ll be celebrating even before the game begins: they were chosen as the 2019 PSU Honorary Family in conjunction with annual Family Day activities.
The award dates to 1993 and is sponsored by the PSU Foundation and the Advancement Ambassadors. Recipients are selected by a committee of alumni, students, and staff, based on a student-submitted nomination and essays about the student’s family involvement, school spirit, and Gorilla legacy.
“My mom cried when I told her,” Katy said. “It’s a huge honor; it signifies that Pitt State is a part of our family, and we are a part of the Pitt State family.”
In her nomination, Katy wrote about her parents. Her dad, a teacher and coach at Arma High School – Northeast, earned two bachelor’s degrees from PSU: one in criminal justice and one in education with a physical education emphasis. Last year, he completed his master’s. Her mom, a teacher at Girard Middle School, took a similar route, earning her bachelor’s in biology with a teaching emphasis, and later completing her master’s.
Katy also wrote about her sisters, Haley Pitts, 23, and Kacey Pitts, 17, with whom she is close.
"We love traveling together, regardless of whether it’s two hours or 20. My parents have given my sisters and I unconditional love and support through all our adventures. From long weekends at softball fields, to seeing the world together, they’ve always prioritized family,” Katy wrote. “They are the type of parents I wish to one day be. Three girls and one bathroom at the end of the hallway may have caused conflict for most, but for us, it was a great way to spend time together each day.”
“We regularly attend athletic events together, regardless of whether any of us are participating,” she continued. “We were a family full of athletes, band members, and club members. We also attend activities in our community, from running booths at Girard Fall Festival and Harrigan’s Barn, participating in our church, and promoting Crawford County Fair.”
At her mom’s graduation, “she wore the largest gown they had available, and a month later, I was born,” Katy wrote.
“After watching our parents walk across the stage with their master’s degrees and listening to their college experience, it was obvious PSU would be the home for my sisters and me.”
Haley, the oldest, graduated in May 2019 with a bachelor’s in nursing; she plans to return to complete her DNP. Katy will graduate in May 2020 with her bachelor’s in nursing, as well, with the intent of also completing her DNP. Starting in Fall 2020, Kacey will start her adventure at PSU with an eye toward also earning a nursing degree.
From attending a variety of athletic events at PSU to wearing their crimson and gold to the annual Homecoming parade and sharing their PSU story with whomever will listen, Katy says her family “truly represents the legacy of PSU.”
“My parents have worked very hard to allow us girls the opportunities they didn’t necessarily have when they went through college,” Katy said. “I love the fact that I can wake up in the morning and see my family, go to class, work for a bit, and then go home to my family again in the evening. The time we have together is only growing shorter as graduation grows closer; spending each day with them is a gift.”
Katy said she’s very proud to continue the PSU legacy.
“I always tell people PSU has programs at a level no other university can offer,” she said, “and I’m part of two of them: the School of Construction, where I work, and the School of Nursing, where I’m preparing for my career. There’s no place I’d rather be.”