September 21, 2017 5:30PM
A ceremonial check was presented during an informal reception at Russ Hall, where some of the more than 30 Pittsburg State University graduates and students who work at the bank gathered for a photograph and listened to remarks from PSU President Steve Scott and Bank President Mark Schifferdecker.
Kelce College of Business, formed in 1977 as the Center for Business and Economic Development, is now listed among the world's top 5 percent of business colleges thanks to accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
It's housed in one of the most heavily utilized buildings on the PSU campus and has more than1,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in business classes each semester. But it requires additional space to advance and expand its burgeoning outreach activities in business and economic development. And the building is showing its age: originally constructed in 1950 as a high school, its mid-20th Century layout and technology are unable to keep pace with the demands of a 21st Century business degree.
Dean Paul Grimes said Girard National Bank and its University Bank branch in Pittsburg have been loyal supporters of the Kelce College of Business.
"We are proud to have so many of our alumni working for GNB. This generous gift helps us move toward our goal of providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for the next generation of Pitt State Business Gorillas," Grimes said.
The Girard National Bank is locally owned and based in Crawford County. In addition to its headquarters in Girard and its University Bank locations in Pittsburg, Arma, and Galena, Kansas, the bank has offices in 10 other communities in Kansas and Southeast Colorado. Schifferdecker said Girard National Bank and University Bank are strongly committed to PSU's success.
"This pledge is just one example of our support,” Schifferdecker said. “In addition to making financial gifts, many bank officers, employees, and directors also contribute by serving on university boards and committees, supporting university events, and making personal financial contributions.”
Schifferdecker said the bank and the entire Southeast Kansas area reap "significant benefits" from the education PSU provides to its students and its role in fueling the local economy.
"A strong economy is good for our customers. A well-educated work force is also great for the bank," he said.
Schifferdecker noted that the university also has provided bank employees with continuing education opportunities.
"We're excited to see you renovate, upgrade, because I think to compete with some of the other universities in the area, that's a very critical thing," he said.
Scott said the pledge was a milestone in PSU's efforts to complete the project, which will "provide a facility that matches up to the quality of faculty, staff, and programming at Kelce."
He described the bank as a partner with values that align with PSU's.
"...and we love the fact that you hire graduates," he said. "That is just an awesome thing."