November 13, 2012 12:00AM
An organization that started when four men scraped together $200 for a student scholarship, has passed the half-million-dollar mark in gifts for scholarships for students in Pittsburg State University’s School of Construction (SOC).
The Pittsburg State Construction Alumni Association (PSCAA) was born in 1988, when four graduates of the PSU School of Construction teamed up to create a $200 scholarship for a student in the construction program.
“We got together and each put in $50,” said Jim Otter, chairman of PSU’s School of Construction and a founding member of the PSCAA.
A few years later, the number of donors had increased and the total amount for scholarships jumped to between $1,500 and $2,000. Soon after, the PSCAA began hosting golf tournaments in Pittsburg, Kansas City and Wichita to raise money.
This year, the PSCAA reached a major milestone when it surpassed the half-million-dollar mark. To date, the group has raised $524,000, and more than $334,000 has been awarded as scholarships to PSU students majoring or minoring in construction. The remaining funds are kept in an endowment.
“This is a big milestone for us,” Otter said. “Now it’s time to aim for the million-dollar mark.”
The group raised more than $54,000 in 2012, Otter said. Of that, more than $34,000 was awarded as scholarships.
Otter, who formed the PSCAA with Mike Holman, Rob Jarvis and Mike McGivern, said the group’s mission is to support students who have a passion for construction.
“The idea was to help offset the cost of an education for the students who show a strong desire and love for the construction field,” Otter said. “The scholarships typically go to juniors and seniors who have proven their dedication to the construction program.”
Samuel Linan, a construction management major from Olathe, recently received one of the scholarships from the PSCAA. He said the money helped him focus more on his education and less on the financial aspect of going to college.
“It helped a lot because I didn’t have to worry so much about the money,” Linan said. “I could focus on my classes and feel a little less stress knowing that I have that scholarship.”