Earlier this week, longtime Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott announced that he will be stepping down from his position as President in June of 2022. Scott is not calling it a retirement, choosing instead to keep his option open.
Scott will remain in Pittsburg with his wife. They have already purchased a home in town and have recently finished renovating it.
Howard Smith, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, has worked with Scott for more than 25 years. The pair worked in the same department on campus when Smith came to PSU.
“I want to congratulate him on an outstanding career and everything he’s done for Pitt State,” Smith said. “We will certainly miss him but I also understand where he’s at in his life at this point in time.”
In the last 30 years, Scott has ventured through the ranks of the university. Scott has been a faculty member in the College of Education, chair of the Department of Special Services and Leadership Studies, dean of the College of Education, vice president for Academic Affairs, and most recently, provost in 2008. In 2009, Scott advanced to his current role as President of the university.
“…It’s been such a pleasure working with him throughout my career at Pitt State,” said Kathleen Flannery, Vice President for Advancement and President of the PSU Foundation. “From a personal standpoint, he has been a great mentor and I’ve learned a lot about leadership from him… He is a great fundraising and friend-raising leader… He’s always trying to find ways to secure additional resources for the university and his passion for the university and our students has clearly come through, especially to our donors because they share his vision, and they relate to that passion, and they want to support us…”
Prior to his employment at Pittsburg State, Scott attended the university, first earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1973. Following that, Scott earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Oklahoma State University in 1977 then returned to Pitt State for an educational specialist’s degree in 1984. After that, Scott received a doctorate degree in education from Oklahoma State University in 1990.
During his presidency, Scott has seen to many projects at PSU such as the funding and construction of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, Block22, the Plaster Center, and the expansion of the Overman Student Center. Moreover, the university saw new academic additions such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice, which is the first doctoral program in Pittsburg State history, the region’s first undergraduate polymer chemistry degree, and the expansion of the Gorilla Advantage program (which allows students from certain states to pay in-state tuition) to 31 states. Additionally, Scott has served as chair of the NCAA Division-II Presidents Council, chair of the MIAA CEO Council, and as a member of the University of Kansas Cancer Center Community Advisory Board.
As part of the speaker series which began in 2015, Scott has sat down with many influential Americans on the stage of the Bicknell Center including former President of the United States Bill Clinton, former Republican presidential nominee and Senator Mitt Romney, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
According to Scott, some of the best moments have been with Pitt State graduates.
“It’s a reminder that our graduates are everywhere, that they’re making a difference in the workforce and in their communities, and it’s always a goosebump moment to see them and know we played a role in getting them there,” Scott told the Pittsburg State Marketing and Communication Department.
Chief of Staff in the President’s Office Jaime Dalton has worked alongside Scott for eight years in her role in the President’s Office.
“Well, I’m excited for him,” Dalton said. “It’s a bittersweet place in life because he has so enjoyed his time at Pitt State and will continue to for this next year, but everybody deserves to retire at some point, especially those who work so hard like that. He’s obviously been just… so absolutely amazing for the university and his service here.”
Throughout the rest of his tenure, Scott will focus on renovating the Kelce College of Business, constructing a simulation hospital in McPherson Hall which is home to the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, and improvements to John Lance Arena.
“I just think he should walk away very proud of all that he has done for this institution,” Smith said.