March 07, 2014 2:15PM
Pittsburg State University this week honored three people for their service to the university. Barry Williamson and Steve and Mary Beth Robb were named the 2014 Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award recipients as part of PSU’s annual Apple Day celebration.
PSU President Steve Scott said the Distinguished Service Award recipients were chosen because of “their passion for student achievement and for Pittsburg State University.”
Williamson, former vice president at the Insurancecenter in Joplin, received a bachelor’s degree in education, majoring in health, human performance and recreation, and minoring in mathematics from PSU in 1974. He received a master’s degree from PSU, majoring in physical education, in 1977.
At PSU, Williamson was on both the basketball and baseball teams. Previously, he has been recognized by the university with its Outstanding Young Alumni Award and is currently serving on the PSU Foundation Board. Williamson served three terms on the Alumni Association Board, including one term as its president. He has been a Phone-a-thon volunteer and is currently a Lifetime Member of the President’s Club and is a stadium club seat holder.
President Scott called Williamson and his wife, Barbara, (Class of ’75) “lifelong Gorillas” and praised them for their hard work in helping bring the Pitt State license plate program to Missouri.
“In fact, Barry’s and Barbara’s were the first applications we accepted for the program, which now sits at nearly 300 license plates,” Scott said.
Steve Robb and his wife, Mary Beth, were the other Distinguished Service Award recipients Thursday.
Steve Robb is the former executive director of the Business and Technology Institute at PSU. Mary Beth received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from PSU in 1979 and today is the director of the KUMC Area Health Education Center, housed in Shirk Hall on the PSU campus.
President Scott praised Steve Robb for the assistance he has provided with the university economic development impact study and many other special projects over the years. He noted, however, that Steve and Mary Beth may be best known for the color they add to GorillaFest and other PSU-related events.
Before each home football game, the Robbs put up towering crimson and gold flags on each side of the hike-bike trail that runs from Carnie Smith Stadium to the Weede PE Building. The Gorilla Walk has become an unforgettable experience for football players who march to the stadium between rows of fluttering crimson and gold flags and enthusiastic fans. President Scott said the Robbs have played a role in making the Pitt State’s game-day atmosphere one of the best in the nation.
The PSU Alumni Association created the Distinguished Service Award in 1991 to recognize volunteer service to PSU and presented the first award later that year to Dr. Ralf Thomas, a retired faculty member and volunteer for the Alumni Association for 22 years. The award was renamed in memory of Thomas in 2000.
Ray Jacquinot, national president of the PSU Alumni Association, on the left, joins PSU President Steve Scott in presenting a gift for 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipients Steve and Mary Beth Robb and Barry Williamson.