PSU observes Apple Day with awards, traditions  

  Monday, March 2, 2020 4:00 PM
  Milestones, People and Society, News, Alumni

Pittsburg, KS

Apple Day apples

Pittsburg State University faculty, staff, students, and alumni observed an annual tradition Monday that dates to the founding of the school: Apple Day.  

In addition to the customary faculty handing out of apples donated by Marrone’s Food Service, this year's activities included the popular apple dessert contest, a reception for Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award recipients Larry Weis and Tony Perez, and the annual all-university Apple Day ceremony at which numerous other award and grant recipients were honored.   

Those recipients included:  

Good Apple Award   

This year, the Apple Day Committee chose Trevor Maiseroulle, a Technology and Engineering Education teacher for Parsons Middle School and Parsons High School in Parsons, Kansas, where he advises FIRST Robotics, Technology Student Association, and SkillsUSA teams. 

The award, started three years ago, is to honor recent graduates who already have made an impact in their career fields or communities while showcasing their Gorilla pride. They must have graduated within the last five years.   

Outstanding Faculty   

Three faculty were recognized with the Dr. Robert K. Ratzlaff Outstanding Faculty Awards, created to recognize those faculty members who make lasting impressions on students.   

Rion Huffman, an associate professor in Graphics and Imaging Technologies, was nominated by a student who sees him going above and beyond, encouraging graphics students to participate in research. 

Jordan Backs, an assistant professor in Technology and Workforce Learning, was nominated for his overwhelming kindness and patience, and ensuring his students understand what he’s trying to teach them. 

Fang Lin, an assistant professor of finance, was nominated for ensuring his students understand the materials being taught to them and caring for his students. 

Professors Beyond the Classroom Grant Awards   

These awards, funded by the PSU Student Government Association, were awarded to five faculty who will use the money to positively impact students.   

Andrea Kent-McConnaughey is an associate professor in the Graphics and Imaging Technologies Department. She will be taking one of her classes to a printing/production facility so the students can see the print pieces they have designed come to life. 

Alicia Mason is a professor in the Communications Department. She will be taking 12 to 14 students to New Orleans for professional media development and an agency tour.  

Shelly Grimes is an instructor in the Health, Human Performance, and Recreation Department. She will be purchasing Fuel Up to Play 60 kits to allow students in HHPR to learn the curriculum and take it to local elementary schools.  

Rion Huffman will be purchasing macro probe lenses for photography and videography students to use in the Graphics and Imaging Technologies Department. 

Voya Outstanding Employee Recognition Awards   

Recipients of the Voya Outstanding Employee Recognition Awards each received a $750 stipend. This year’s USS honoree was Teresa Kolarik of the Business Office. Kolarik is an accounting specialist and is known for building partnerships among departments across campus. She reviews all payable transactions for the university, including bills and expense reports, and is responsible for ensuring accuracy. 

This year’s University Support Staff honoree was Lisa Allen, assistant director of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Allen assisted with the implementation of Professional Online MBA, the Gorilla International Scholarship, Digital Commons, and DNP thesis review, and has served on numerous committees and task forces. 

The Golden Gorilla Award   

The Golden Gorilla Award was established in 1997 to recognize students for their significant achievements in service, campus and community involvement, and academics.     

Students receiving the award this year were:

  • Lexington Peterson, a plastics engineering technology and polymer chemistry major from LaCygne, Kansas 
  • Kaylee Hogard, a computer information systems major from Pittsburg, Kansas 
  • Julia Turner, a nursing major from Overland Park, Kansas 
  • Olivia Shurtleff, a nursing major from DeSoto, Kansas 
  • Madison DeLissa, a nursing major from El Dorado, Kansas 
  • Kaedra Brenner, a plastics engineering technology major from Wichita, Kansas 
  • Jami Gooch, a computer information systems major from Kansas City 
  • Heather Culbertson, an elementary education unified major from Gardner, Kansas 
  • Kate Dreiling, a biology pre-PA major from Carl Junction, Missouri 
  • Morgan Plank, a nursing major from Pittsburg, Kansas 
  • Morgan Michael, a nursing major from McCune, Kansas 
  • Camille Holman, a plastics engineering technology and polymer chemistry major from Cassville, Missouri 
  • Piper Bourne, an elementary education unified major from Garden Plain, Kansas
  • Allie Evans, a nursing major from Columbus, Kansas
  • Rachel Lubwicz, an accounting major from Lenexa, Kansas
  • Annie Vaters, a nursing major from Peculiar, Missouri 
  • Travis Linn, a psychology and counseling and justice studies major from Grove, Oklahoma 
  • Abby Normand, a nursing major from Pittsburg, Kansas 
  • Emily Habjan, an elementary education unified major from Fulton, Missouri 
  • Cole York, a marketing major from Benton, Arkansas
  • Kara Torgler, a nursing major from Overland Park, Kansas
  • Kathryn Huffman, a communication education major from Joplin, Missouri
  • Samantha Shakes, a nursing major from Raymore, Missouri
  • Bralyn Wilson, a recreation services sports and hospitality management major from Frontenac, Kansas
  • Seth George, a recreation services sports and hospitality management major from Belton, Missouri 

Innovation for Revenue Generation Grants 

Recipients of the Innovation for Revenue Generation grants program also were recognized. They included:  

Randy Roberts, dean of Library Services, for a proposal to increase enrollment, retention, and student success through literacy instruction in partnership with PSU faculty, regional community colleges, and regional high schools. 

Paige Cortes, of the Intensive English Program, for a proposal for an international programs and services short-term program development. 

Chase Dearinger, of the English Department, for a proposal for an annual poetry chapbook contest for Cow Creek Review. 

Centennial Scholarships   

This year’s Convocation marked the 16th year of awarding Centennial Scholarships. Any undergraduate student enrolled at PSU during the Spring 2020 and who will be attending during the Fall semester was eligible, provided they attended Apple Day. Given by the PSU Foundation, this year's recipients were Josh Root ($500) and Ruth Wilkinson ($1,000).   

Apple Dessert Contest   

The contest winners in the Apple Pie division were Cassidy Pankratz (1st Place), Sarah Provalone (2nd Place) and Morgan Michael (3rd Place). The contest winners in the Apple Dessert division were Carsyn Hughes (1st Place), Della Bennett (2nd Place), and Madeline McCoy (3rd Place).  

About Apple Day  

Founded in 1903, the Kansas State Manual Training Normal School Auxiliary began in a borrowed building in downtown Pittsburg. But the effort to secure state support to build a permanent building for the new school met with strong opposition from other state schools.   

The school’s founder and principal, R.S. Russ, along with faculty and the Pittsburg mayor, lobbied hard in the legislature to get the lawmakers to pass an appropriation for funding. In doing so, Russ broke a legislative rule by sitting in a legislator’s seat during the session. The Pittsburg delegation was fined a barrel of apples for the impropriety, which was paid and distributed among the legislators.   

The requested appropriation was approved, however, and when the triumphant Pittsburg delegation returned to Pittsburg, a joyful assembly of students followed the legislature’s lead and fined the faculty a barrel of apples, which the faculty paid and distributed to the students. They have done so every year since. 


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