Pitt State’s bushel of history
Tradition, pride, apples
Alex Mott Collegio Reporter
Thursday, March 3, marked the 104th Apple Day celebration at Pittsburg State University. Students were invited to attend the convocation ceremony, held at McCray Hall, to learn about the history of Apple Day, to honor outstanding faculty and students, and to have a chance to win scholarships.
Randy Roberts, curator of Special Collections, archivist and associate professor, told the story of Apple Day. For many students, including Tyler Egbert, freshman in biology, this was the first time hearing about the story and tradition of Apple Day.
“It was actually really cool,” Egbert said. “I didn’t know that there was a yearly Apple Day celebration, and I didn’t have any idea that there was that kind of history on campus.”
For other students, such as Li Shin Chang, junior in finance and accounting, the story was nothing new.
“I knew of the tradition before I went to convocation,” Chang said. “I had talked to the seniors about it my first year here.”
Although Chang knew the history, she, as well as Egbert, attended Apple Day Convocation for the first time on Thursday.
In addition to sharing the history and tradition of Apple Day, several awards were handed out as well.
More than 60 students were nominated for the Golden Gorilla Award, which honors students who have made exemplary contributions in community service, academic excellence and campus involvement.
Three faculty members were awarded the Robert K. Ratzlaff Distinguished Faculty Award. This award honors outstanding faculty members for instruction and service to students on campus. Scott Gorman, Janice Jewett and Virginia Rider were this year’s winners.
Two faculty members were also awarded the Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to people who generously give of their time and talent to improve the university. Dale Dennis and Kathleen Sandness were this year’s recipients.
The winners of the apple dessert contest were also announced.
In the pie division, Chelsea Fisher got third place, Katy Burton and Michelle Hubbard placed second, and Jonna Fearmonti took first. In the dessert category, Jonna Fearmonti got third place, Ashley Conyers took second, and Laura Hernandez got first.
Later, Pittsburg State alumni Roy Jensen delivered a speech titled “Better to Be Lucky than Good.” He explained how important it is for students to explore and find options at Pitt State, join clubs and organizations, volunteer and consider what they are going to do with the rest of their lives.
“The stories about his experiences at PSU inspire students to do well with the opportunities that they have now,” Chang said.
All of these events helped continue the tradition of Apple Day at Pittsburg State.
“Apple Day is a very important tradition here,” Chang said. “It marks the history and tradition of Pitt state which makes it different from any other school. Apple Day is what makes Pitt State.”
Applauded at Apple Day
Whitney Saporito Managing Editor
Scott Gorman’s work extends far past the campus of Pittsburg State University.
In addition to his job as university professor in Health, Human Performance, Recreation (HHPR), Gorman also serves on the executive committee of the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. As the organization’s parliamentarian and past president, he works to promote a healthy, active lifestyle across the state.
“I honestly believe that I have the best job in the state of Kansas,” Gorman said.
Gorman’s love for his work both in and out of the classroom was recognized by his students, as he was among three faculty members awarded the Dr. Robert K. Ratzlaff Outstanding Faculty Award at the Apple Day Convocation on Thursday, March 3.
Also receiving the honor was Janice Jewett, associate professor in HHPR, and Virginia Rider, professor in biology. This was the first time any of the three professors had received the award.
To be eligible, faculty members had to be nominated by a student. As part of the nomination, students wrote a short essay explaining why they felt that faculty members were
deserving of the recognition. The nominations then went to the Student Government Association’s Academic Affairs Committee, where the final three were selected.
Comments from students’ essays were printed in the Apple Day program. PSU student Julie Ward nominated Rider. She recognized Rider for her devotion to her discipline.
“Dr. Rider is well regarded by her students, not by spending time fraternizing or providing easy coursework, but leading them by example through her passion for research and teaching,” Ward wrote.
“I was very surprised,” Rider said. “I was surprised by who nominated me and I was delighted by the comments. For me, the comments they printed were meaningful.”
Rider said she believes her knowledge of the topic she teaches and her research work are what students see.
“I’ve always thought that the most important thing in teaching is that you have broad knowledge in your topic,” Rider said. “Research keeps me up to date and I think that transmits to the students.”
Gorman and Jewett also said they were surprised by the award. Both nominated by student Ginny Jones, the HHPR faculty members were recognized for their ability to connect with their students.
“Dr. Jewett has a natural ability to relate to her students,” Jones wrote. “Of the many professors I’ve had over the course of my collegiate career, Dr. Jewett is one of a very select few that I can say is truly exceptional.”
“I was honored,” Jewett said. “I had no idea that Ginny had nominated me or Dr. Gorman. I think she must write convincingly well.”
Jewett’s unique hands-on teaching style also helped her to stand out.
She says her classes have worked with area schools and nursing homes, as well as her dance classes performing in area parades.
“I think it’s really important to involve students,” Jewett said. “Trying to make an impact on people while still learning.”
She says overall, being around students is her favorite part of the job.
“One of the things I really try to work on is connecting with students,” Jewett said.
Jones also nominated Gorman, who she described as one of the most fun and enthusiastic professors on PSU’s campus.
“I would venture to say that once a student has had Dr. Gorman, he is likely one of their favorite professors of all time,” Jones wrote.
Gorman says he was surprised both by the nomination and who nominated him.
“I was totally shocked,” he said.