September 17, 2012 12:00AM
Pittsburg State University faculty and staff will gather at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, on the east side of Carnie Smith stadium to observe a time-honored tradition -- the annual Faculty Steak Fry.
Sponsored by the Unclassified Staff and Faculty Association and prepared and served by faculty and staff volunteers, the event brings together people from across campus. It serves as a way to both welcome newcomers, who receive a free ticket to the steak fry, and also to reconnect with retirees.
It is doubtful that many of those in attendance at this year’s steak fry will know much about this tradition’s history.
Randy Roberts, PSU archivist and curator of special collections, said what is now known as the Faculty Steak Fry began in 1921 as the Trout Bake. Contrary to its name, the event had nothing to do with fish, but was an informal cookout organized by George Trout, a professor of history and social science.
Trout organized the annual dinners until his death in 1947, when a committee then took over the responsibilities.
Roberts said changes in the event over the years are a reflection of changing times and the growth and evolution of the university. But at its core, Roberts said, the Faculty Steak Fry remains a pleasant, relaxing gathering of friends and colleagues who all share a devotion to Pittsburg State University and its students. George Trout, Roberts believes, would be pleased.