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Apple Day awards recognize students, faculty

Every year since 1907, PSU students, faculty, and staff gather to remember the beginning of Pittsburg State.  

PSU Founder R.S. Russ along with the Pittsburg mayor petitioned lawmakers for funding. During their lobbying, Russ broke a legislative rule by sitting in a legislator’s seat. The legislature fined them a barrel of apples, which Russ and the mayor paid and distributed to the lawmakers. Their request for funding was approved and when they returned to campus, students fined the faculty a barrel of apples which they paid.  

Thus, Apple Day became Pitt State’s longest standing tradition. Every year, PSU celebrates Apple Day. This year, Apple Day was celebrated virtually from Monday, Mar. 5 through Friday, Mar. 5.  

Biology professor Phillip Harries was one recipient of the Dr. Robert K. Ratzlaff Outstanding Faculty Award, along with Becky Brannock in the psychology and counseling department and Traci Coltharp in the nursing department. Students nominate and chose winners of this award.  

“It was a huge surprise and honor to be selected for this award,” Harries said. “As faculty, our work is all about empowering student success. We have so many amazing faculty at PSU who do this so well that I really can’t think of any higher honor than having students nominate me for this award.”  

The Voya Outstanding Employee Recognition Award is given out to university support staff, each of whom receive $750 stipends. This year, the awards were given to Carol Oehme in the psychology and counseling and Susan Dellasega in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology.  

“It was an amazing honor to have been chosen,” Dellasega said. “We have been very busy in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology this past year and our entire staff has done a great job supporting the switch to remote learning last spring and the increased online and hybrid course delivery options this academic year.  This award is a great compliment to the work everyone has done this past year.”  

Five faculty members were chosen for the Professors Beyond the Classroom Grant Awards: Andrew George and Delia Lister in the biology department, Scott Gorman in health, human performance, and recreation, Laurent Pretot in the psychology department, and Byron McKay in the Kansas Technology Center. These awards are funded by the PSU Student Government Association and given to faculty who use the money to positively impact students.  

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Lister said. “I’m excited about it and I’m excited for my students to learn in a new way. I’ll be learning in a new way as well.”  

Additionally, 19 PSU students were given the Golden Gorilla award, which recognizes students for their achievements academically and their involvement in PSU and Pittsburg.   

“Well.., I’ve been a part of PSU campus since I was a student in 1999,” Lister said. “I remember being a Golden Gorilla recipient. It’s just a cool tradition.”  

In other awards, the Good Apple Award, which honors recent graduates, was given to Minjoo Mun and Brittan Brenner. Sara Henry, a volunteer who’s been involved in the music department’s Solo and Chamber Music Series, was the winner of the Distinguished Service Award, which was renamed the Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award in memory of a retired faculty member.  

“My favorite thing about PSU is the Incredible diversity of experience and expertise that we have gathered here on campus,” Harries said. “There are so many students, faculty, and staff doing interesting and amazing things every day that it really makes PSU an exciting place to be.”  

Similarly, Dellasega enjoys working with the different people she interacts with.  

“My favorite thing about my job at PSU is the great people that I work with in the CTLT and across campus,” Dellasega said. “There are so many people who truly care about helping our students be successful and I think that makes PSU a very special place to work.”  

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