Alumni to host book signing during Homecoming 

Two Pittsburg State University alumni who went on to become successful entrepreneurs have just published books and will return to campus for Homecoming and a book signing. 

Gene Bicknell (BS '53, MBA '91) and Miles Schnaer (BS '70) are authors of "Hermit: A Novel," and "Take the Crown: 18 Core Principles to Grow Your Business and Improve Your Life."

From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, they'll be set up next to the Alumni Tent in Gorilla Village. 

The book signing will be part of tailgating activities before the afternoon kick-off pitting the Gorillas against Missouri Western in Carnie Smith Stadium. 

Book signing

Bicknell’s “Hermit” is the fictional tale of Sgt. Jackson Eagle, U.S. Special Forces Ranger. The story tracks his struggle over the punishing aspects of his isolation, his triumph over it, and back again. He discovers heartbreak, adventure, and the value of self-reliance. 

“He also discovers that we all need relationships with each other for encouragement, refreshment, and growth. He realizes that there is strength in numbers, and we should pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up,” the book description reads. 

Schnaer’s “Take the Crown” weaves stories of his experiences and achievements through the 18 core principles and values that have defined his career.  

“The result is a frank and open narrative that provides a road map for how to navigate the proper balance among work, family, and civic interests. His journey offers savvy readers sage advice that is applicable across many professions, industries, and stages of life,” the book description reads. 

Their books will be on sale for $25 each, and buyers may meet the authors and ask to have their books signed. 

A book signing by the two also will be held at Books and Burrow, an independent bookstore in downtown Pittsburg, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21. 

About the authors 


Gene Bicknell is a writer, actor, broadcaster, veteran, professor, entrepreneur, pilot, politician, philanthropist, husband, father and grandfather. He built NPC International which became the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee. He has raised considerable funds for dozens of charitable causes, has taught MBA courses, and has lectured at major universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. He founded the O. Gene Bicknell Center for Entrepreneurship, has authored three books, and produced a number of movies. He owns an entertainment business in Branson, Missouri, and resides in Englewood Florida, near Tampa.

The author’s proceeds from “Hermit” are being donated to the Bicknell Charitable Foundation, which provides charitable funding and support to a variety of children’s charities such as St. Jude’s Hospital, Shriners Hospitals, and others. The foundation is a Christian faith-based organization that also provides funds to providers of pregnancy support, housing, and youth counseling services. 


Miles Schnaer is the owner of the Crown Organization, a multi-brand auto dealership based in Lawrence, Kansas. With a long history of success in the sales and service of major car brands, he has won numerous industry awards and twice been named the Time Magazine “Dealer of the Year” for both Kansas and Illinois. In 2017, Schnaer was inducted into the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame.

His entrepreneurial drive also led him to Willamette Valley in Oregon, where he founded Schnaer Family Wines and has produced four award-winning vintages. An avid golfer and sports fan, he now divides his time between Lawrence and Ft. Myers, Florida.