February 04, 2013 12:00AM
Members of the Pittsburg State University family came together Feb. 1 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Center for the Arts. Because of cold weather, officials moved the ceremony inside, but that didn’t prevent participants from turning spades of dirt to signify the start of a project that has been decades in the making.
PSU President Steve Scott opened his comments by paying tribute to those who worked for many years to make the center a reality.
“It’s often said that we stand on the shoulders of those who come before us. Never has this been more true than today,” Scott said. “This project is the culmination of 35 years of hard work and the contributions of many, many individuals. It was their hope and their commitment that sustained this long journey that brings us here this morning.”
Scott said the leaders who advocated for the construction of a center for the arts on campus “understood the importance that the arts hold in a well-rounded education.”
The president also paid tribute to the anonymous lead donor, whose $10-million lead gift “signaled Pittsburg State University’s intent to reclaim its rightful place as the cultural center of this region.”
Tim Emert, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, also talked about the importance of the arts in education. Emert, who also serves as president and a board member of the William Inge Festival Foundation, said the arts enhance all areas of education.
“They help develop communications skills, strengthen character and by their very nature, encourage critical thinking,” Emert said. “This is why it is so important that universities and communities continue to invest in the arts.”
SGA President Lara Ismert said the groundbreaking was more than a ceremonial start for a new building project.
“It’s a celebration of the relationship Pittsburg State enjoys with its students,” Ismert said, noting that students have pledged $7 million for the project.
“Why would students, many of whom will not be here when this center opens, pledge their support for a new Center for the Arts?” Ismert asked. “It’s because we believe in this university and want to see it thrive for the next generation of Gorillas.”
The event concluded with officials, who represented the campus community, donors, and those involved in the actual construction of the building, turning spades of dirt.