Nash Trumbly Reporter
Pittsburg State University’s president, Dan Shipp, is set to embark on an ambitious cycling trip across Kansas in May, covering an estimated 800 miles over a 12-day period. The goal of the journey is to raise a historic $8 million for PSU students, which would be put toward scholarships for those in need.
“That would be a historic level of funds raised for scholarships and for our student success,” Shipp told the Joplin Globe. “I’m putting my legs where my mouth is — I’m going to do everything I can to raise those dollars for our students and raise an awareness and appreciation for Pittsburg State”.
Shipp’s cycling trip was inspired by students’ feedback on the barriers they face in obtaining a degree, with affordability being a major issue. The cost of tuition for in-state undergraduate students at PSU is $3,887 per semester for the 2022-23 academic year, with estimated costs of $500 for books and $4,598 for residence hall living. In-state students could pay around $8,985 per semester, while undergraduate out-of-state students could spend around $29,314 per academic year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses. These costs highlight the need for initiatives like Shipp’s cycling trip to raise funds for scholarships and make college more affordable for students.
The journey is expected to take Shipp, along with a few students and colleagues, through cities including Pittsburg, Topeka, Wichita, Dodge City, Colby, Emporia, Pratt, and Garden City. Events are planned at each stop along the route, allowing residents to join in the celebration and track Shipp’s journey online at PSU’s official website.
Shipp is busy preparing for the physically intensive journey, currently cycling for 2 consecutive hours 4 times a week while also managing his day-to-day duties running the University. With a goal of biking between 50-70 miles per day during the trip, the trip is bound to be a challenge for a man in his 50’s.
Some students and faculty on campus have expressed concerns for Dr. Shipp’s safety on the road. With over 1,000 bicyclists being killed on the road last year in the U.S. alone, the hobby can be extremely dangerous.
“Please thank everyone for their concerns and well wishes, but all will be good. We have a small team that is dedicated to helping me get from town to town. Pray for good weather, no injuries, and friendly traffic.
Shipp’s cycling trip is not only a fundraising effort but also a testament to PSU’s commitment to making education accessible and affordable to students. The journey will showcase the value of Pittsburg State University’s living and learning experience, inspiring others to support the cause and contribute to the success of PSU’s students.
In addition to raising funds, Shipp hopes the initiative gives him an opportunity to connect with Alumni and Donors, but also to meet new people around the state.
“We are planning intentional stops along the way to meet with future students, families, corporate partners, and of course our Gorilla alumni throughout the state. So, think of it as raising funds and awareness. It will also be fun for me to get to know Kansas people and places in a slow intentional way… so, no driving through or by for me,” said Shipp.
In his own words, Shipp hopes the journey will be “inspiring and a lot of fun.” The trip is a remarkable demonstration of the dedication and commitment of PSU’s leadership to supporting its students, and Shipp hopes it serves as a reminder of the importance of community efforts in making education accessible to everyone.