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Outstanding alumni reflect on the honor

The three recipients of Pittsburg State University’s 2016 Dr. Kenneth K. Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award recipients had more in common than just their love of PSU. President Steve Scott noted that all three have chosen to live lives of service.

The three recipients of Pittsburg State University’s 2016 Dr. Kenneth K. Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award recipients had more in common than just their love of PSU. President Steve Scott noted that all three have chosen to live lives of service.

Holly Cranston, a medical doctor in Pittsburg; John Lair, a Special Olympics coach and program director at New Hope Services in Pittsburg; and Fr. Mike Simone, director of vocations for the Diocese of Wichita, were honored at Homecoming ceremonies on Oct. 7-8.

All three said they were humbled by the award, which recognizes alumni for their professional achievements and community and organizational involvement.

Cranston said she was inspired by the late Robert Hilt, the first director of the Honors College.

“Getting to know him and the struggles he had with Parkinsons and just how amazing he was, working through all of his physical issues, was very inspiring,” Cranston said. “I saw someone working every day with something that was debilitating, and still having joy.”

Lair said a professor’s assignment changed his life.

“Charles Killingsworth, a professor in the recreation department (Health, Human Performance and Recreation) made me go to a Special Olympics track meet,” Lair said. “I’d never really been involved with (Special Olympics) and I went there to get an hour’s worth of credit. I ended up staying there the whole day. I fell in love with it and actually made a career out of it.”

Simone said he was inspired by a mission shared by everyone from top administrators to staff at PSU.

“You see the leaders and the faculty and even down to the staff level investing in the students,” Simone said. “It has always been a mission for all of the community to serve those who come to the university.”

Simone expressed a thought that all three shared in one form or another during their time on campus.

“Really, it’s more of a recognition of those who believed in me along the way,” Simone said.

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