Home / News / PSU and business leaders commence 35th annual “Partners in Progress”
Alyssa Edwards and Ethan Edwards, owners of Pallucas, receive an award as the 2020 Community Campaign co-chairs at the Axe library on Thursday, Feb. 27. The campaign seeks to involve local businesses in giving to PSU in a myriad of ways, from making financial contributions, to hiring students and graduates, to giving in-kind gifts. Lesly Bocanegra

PSU and business leaders commence 35th annual “Partners in Progress”

PSU has numerous partnerships with businesses and people in the Pittsburg community that help extend job opportunities to future graduates. These partnerships also donate funds to renovate different locations on campus.  

On Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8 a.m., the 35th annual “Partners in Progress” campaign began. The event took place on the first floor of the newly renovated Axe Library. During this time, Pittsburg businesses and PSU faculty members gathered for award presentations and announcements to kick off the campaign.   

At the event, PSU President Steve Scott presented the 2020 Rex W. Crowley “Outstanding Partner in Progress” Award to the organization “Angels among us.” This organization offers financial support for cancer patients. “Angels Among Us” was founded by Diana Polston, Jan Allai and Jeff Wilbert. The award was accepted at the event by Allai and Wilbert.  

“We will do almost anything to raise money, because everything goes out to those people that are suffering from cancer,” Wilbert said.  

The Rex W. Crowley Award was named after Crowley, a well-known banker and community volunteer in the Pittsburg area.  

“He really was a pioneer, and left a legacy for all of us,” Scott said. “He saw that vision and we’re building on what he did.”  

“Angels among us” was founded 20 years ago. Wilbert spoke about how, since then, the organization now has many sponsors and over 300 volunteers. 

“We needed to do something to help the people here in the community,” Wilbert said. “This is a community effort.”  

Scott spoke at the event about how the “Angels Among us” founders has given a lot to the Pittsburg community.  

“The three of them have been instrumental in success,” Scott said. “Together, the groups fundraising efforts have touched thousands of people, thousands of lives here in Crawford County.” 

Also present was President of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Blake Benson. At the event, Benson presented the “Paint the Town Red” scholarship to two recipients. The recipients were Conner Lehman, junior in business management, and Tabitha Claeys, sophomore in plastics engineering.  

“There’s just no way to quantify the energy and enthusiasm that students here at Pittsburg State bring to our community,” Benson said. 

One of the places recently renovated with the funds donated to “Partners in Progress” was the Leonard H. Axe Library.  

“(These are) very, very important dollars that allow us to update and refurbish our staple,” Scott said. “It also allows us to re-envision their (the campaign’s) purpose and revisit how they are utilizing it.”  

The number of businesses and people in the community that contribute to the campaign have grown since it began in 1985.  

“I think at times, how fragile it (the campaign) is that we have to continue to nurture it, support it, extend it (and) expand it,” Scott said. “It could disappear if we’re not careful.” 

During the event, Kati Karleskint, director of the annual “Gorilla Giving Day,” introduced the co-chairpersons for this year’s campaign. They are Alyssa and Ethan Edwards. 

“Hopefully, we can really get some support rolling for the campaign this year,” Ethan said.   

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