"Proven. Promise. PittState." capital campaign exceeds goal

Pittsburg State University’s six-year, $100 million capital campaign, “Proven.Promise.PittState.,” has exceeded its goal. PSU Foundation leaders announced Friday night at the Presidents Society Celebration for donors, held at the Overman Student Center, that more than $136 million was raised. 

The campaign focused on four areas: scholarships, facilities, program enhancements, and faculty support.  


Kathleen Flannery, president and CEO of the PSU Foundation, said about a third of the campaign total supports scholarships. One hundred and fifty-five new scholarships were created: 73 current and 82 endowed. 

An up-and-coming woodworker, Connor Jennings, of Phoenix, Arizona, is attending Pittsburg State this year at no cost thanks in part to a scholarship created in memory of Chris Schultz, who died in Gilbert, Arizona this year after a battle with cancer. The remainder of Jennings’ tuition and housing costs are being covered by industry partners: The Architectural Woodworking Institute and the Woodworking Machining Industry Association. 

He’s one of hundreds of students who have such stories. 

Among them: Rocky Kyser, a first-generation college student from Erie, Kansas, wants to become a nurse and one day, perhaps, a nurse anesthetist. The Stu & Amy Hite Family Nursing Scholarship is helping him on the path to achieving that dream. 

This scholarship made a great impact on my life and college experience by giving me the funds necessary to purchase most of my books for this semester, which was a huge stress relief,” he said. “I’m grateful to the Hite family for it.” 

President Steve Scott and his wife, Cathy, donors to a variety of efforts, lead by example, and see first-hand each day the difference their giving makes. 

The couple have given more than $100,000 to Pittsburg State since 1989, but their most cherished donations have been to scholarships created in honor of their family: The Avis Parsons Scott Music Scholarship, the Steve & Cathy Scott Scholarship for Mathematics, the Harold L. Scott Memorial Scholarship for Technical Education, and the Phil Scott Special Education Scholarship. 

“Behind each gift made to the university is a very personal story just like ours — a story that in many cases is a chapter in someone’s journey through life,” Scott said. “We’re honored that our donors chose to include us in their journey, and in turn they are having a significant impact on someone else’s journey.” 


Facility construction and improvements in recent years, including projects like the Robert W. Plaster Center, the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, the Gene Bicknell Sports Complex, the John Lance Arena, and the soon-to-be-built simulation hospital at the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, all have been funded primarily through the campaign. 

That list also includes the home of the Kelce College of Business; a drive to raise the remaining funds necessary to overhaul the aging building is nearing completion and Flannery hopes to close the gap soon. 

“We’ve certainly seen the impact these facilities have had on the recruitment of students, and we’ve witnessed the incredible academic, athletic, and artistic experiences students have when they get here as a result,” Flannery said.  

The facilities also have been a huge economic driver in the region, according to recent economic surveys. 

“They’ve pulled in visitors from across the nation, they’ve impacted local businesses, and they’ve allowed our students to shine doing what they do best,” Flannery said. “They’ve truly changed the landscape of our campus and our community." 

Program enhancements and faculty support 

Donors to the campaign also have funded a number of program enhancements as part of the campaign, like the highly impactful H. Lee Scott Speaker Series, which has brought to campus speakers including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Mitt Romney, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and NFL great Peyton Manning.  

Dr. Fay Bradley, of Independence, Kansas, a 1960 graduate who went on to become a renowned physician and track athlete, supported the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing wholeheartedly during his lifetime. He left a transformational gift to support the nursing school through his planned gift.  

Kathleen Dickerson, a 1951 graduate from Rogers, Arkansas, was a very engaged alumna and made arrangements in her estate for a sizeable gift to support academic programs. Similarly, Dr. Gail Hoffman, a 1965 graduate of Spring City, Tennessee, created an endowment to support the Department of Physics. 

And, Flannery said, the campaign funds additional faculty support in a myriad of ways. 

Donors have a variety of reasons for giving back, Flannery noted. Many have given in honor of someone in their family, others feel they want to pay it forward, and still others are interested in providing access to higher education. 

“Whatever their motivation, they share one thing in common: through their gifts, they make a difference in ways we can only begin to imagine, and we are truly grateful,” Flannery said.