Apple Day, Pittsburg State University’s longest held tradition, celebrated its 113th year of events this year.
Apple Day hosted a variety of events and activities throughout the day on Monday, March 2. beginning with apples being handed out in the Oval from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other events during the day were the Apple Day Apple Dessert Contest at 11 a.m., a public reception for the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service award at 2 p.m. the Wilkinson Alumni Center and the Apple Day Ceremony at 3 p.m. in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center.
“I just think it’s such a cool day,” said Kristen Livingston, communication instructor. “I think it’s a cool day of giving back, it’s a cool day to collect funding for the students for scholarships, to acknowledge people that have done great things for the university, on the instruction side and also with support staff. It’s just a day where everyone can come together, we can take some time to acknowledge what Pitt State is, where we’re going in the future but also where we’ve come from.”
Apple Day celebrates the origin of Pittsburg State University and is a celebration of getting the funding from Topeka necessary to build Russ Hall solidifying Pitt State’s position as an institution.
“And a lot of people don’t recognize Apple Day as being the first time that we’ve really established ourselves as Pittsburg State University…,” Livingston said. “…this was something that is always an honor to be a part of and its historic and it’s good for students to know where this university comes from and to have some merit from this.”
Livingston, along with other faculty members, donned an inflatable panda costume and handed apples out to students around campus as part of Apple Day.
“I was handing out apples,” Livingston said. “It’s a tradition I started with (other faculty). We decided that dressing up and upping the game for how we handed out apples would be really fun and engaging for students. I think this tradition that we started, every year we’re going to do bigger and better.”
Another activity that allowed students and faculty to have something to snack on was the dessert competition. Madeline McCoy, senior in psychology, participated in the contest for the third year in a row making an apple pie and apple praline crunch cake.
“I love to bake, and I really just love Apple Day and the tradition Pitt State has about it, and the dessert competition is just something fun that we can get involved in and lets me use my talents,” McCoy said. “…I feel like this gives me time to do something away from school and studying that I love to do and something I enjoy doing.”
Both Livingston and McCoy said one of their favorite Apple Day traditions was the Apple Day Ceremony. The ceremony included recognition of two Good Apple Award winners who are returning to campus to also serve as keynote speakers. Additionally, the following awards were presented: The Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Faculty Awards, Voya Outstanding Employee Recognition, and the Golden Gorilla Awards.
Kathryn Huffman, junior in communication education, received a Golden Gorilla award. The award is to “recognize those junior and non-graduating senior students who have made exemplary contributions in community service, academic excellence and campus involvement,” according to the Pitt State website.
“Just being nominated for it was a big honor,” Huffman said.
Huffman was nominated anonymously then received an email notifying her she had been nominated and inviting her to the ceremony to see if she was selected as a winner. To accept the nomination, students had to apply, submit a resume, school co-curricular transcript and submit a one-page paper about what makes them deserve to be a Golden Gorilla.
“It meant a lot for me because I was always raised with some Gorilla pride personally, because my mom was a Gorilla… being a Gorilla has always been something I’ve been proud of even before I was a Gorilla,” Huffman said.
Huffman said receiving the award was “special” as it let her know her hard work in the community was appreciated.