Lucas Corbin reporter
In 1994, Steve Erwin was hired by Pittsburg State University as the Director of Housing. He has remained at Pittsburg State for over a quarter of a century through various positions. In June, he will retire.
The current state of many of the campus buildings, programs, and organizations is thanks to his efforts in promoting student well-being and ensuring that the university remains attractive to prospective students. His career has been one of continual efforts towards improving the lives of Pittsburg State University students during their time on campus, working diligently to address their needs as they arise.
“I never really thought that I would come here and be here for this length of time,” said Erwin. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many students and so many colleagues over the years. I want to thank them.”
On May 27, 2015, Erwin was officially named the Vice President of Student Life. In this position, Erwin oversaw campus crises and administrative changes.
In 2018, students reported an outbreak of mold throughout the campus dormitories, in part due to the old age of campus buildings. Upon notification of the health hazard, Erwin’s office did not hesitate to respond. Nearly immediately, University Housing, under the jurisdiction of Student Life, began conducting inspections on National and Dellinger Halls to identify, remove, and prevent mold before the summer arrived and the mold spread.
Erwin also assisted in ensuring free and affordable transportation for students through the GUS and GameDay Busses, SafeRide, and the Pittsburg Area Community Transit (P.A.C.T.) Bus. These buses are inexpensive to the university.
“The university does contribute some funds towards the overall operation of the P.A.C.T. Bus to allow students to ride for free,” he told the Collegio at the beginning of the 2020 academic year.
That same year, Erwin helped coordinate the transition which moved the Office of Student Diversity under the Student Life division, which was a critical step that allowed the university to further expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives.
Because of his dedication to service, Erwin received the Outstanding Student Government Advisor award from the National Association for Campus Actives. The NACA award highlights those that promote and display great amounts of stewardship, innovation, and inclusivity. Of all the awards he has received, Erwin states that one of the most meaningful was a twenty-year inside joke with the Student Government regarding the advisor of the year.
Of all the projects he was able to work on, Erwin had a difficult time pinpointing a favorite period.
“There’s been a great deal of construction, renovations that benefit student life… I got to be here during the one-hundredth anniversary of the university in 2003. It’s those kinds of things. We’ve seen national championships in football [and] track and field,” he said, remembering the twenty-nine years he has been at Pittsburg State.
In mid-June, Erwin will enter a phase-retirement in which he will assist his successor with any loose ends in the transition process. Following that period, Erwin’s future is uncertain.
“I would guess that after he (Erwin’s son) is out of school, we may be off to other places… My wife kind of wants to head to warmer climates,” said Erwin.
His career has made him an irreplaceable asset to the Gorilla community; instead of attempting to fill his shoes, university administration has designated his successor to be the vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, a similar role which will have nonidentical duties. The university administration has formed a committee searching for Erwin’s replacement.