April 12, 2013 12:00AM
If it an honor to be called a teacher, it is an even greater honor to be called both teacher and mentor.
For his record of support for students at Pittsburg State University, Scott Gorman, a professor in PSU’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, has been named the 2013 national mentor of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Gorman will receive the award at the NASPE Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, April 26, in Charlotte, N.C.
One of the letters nominating Gorman for the mentorship award came from Jana Horchem, a physical education and health teacher at Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School in Englewood, Colo.
“Dr. Gorman is an outstanding role model,” Horchem wrote. “He has shown me what it means to be a great teacher and mentor.”
John Oppliger, chairman of the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at PSU, called Gorman “one of the most student-oriented professors I have known. He always finds time for students, whether coming back to work in the evening to advise a student who is arriving late from out of town or making sure our students get the recognition they deserve.”
That connection with students doesn’t end with graduation, Horchem said.
“There are still times I e-mail or call him because I know he cares... There are still times I receive e-mails (from him) asking how school is going and when I will pursue my Ph.D.,” Horchem said.
Gorman said the bond between faculty and students is not limited by time.
“Once you put an HHPR degree in your pocket you are a member of our Gorilla family for life!” Gorman said.
Several great teachers and a few special mentors in Gorman’s own life have influenced his relationships with students, Gorman said.
“My first undergraduate mentor was Bill Miller who was a coach and teacher at Elon College. Bill cared more about you as a person and treated you as much more than just a student-athlete,” Gorman said. “He was the first person to ever suggest I attempt graduate school and helped me acquire a graduate teaching assistantship at Western Carolina University.
“My second most notable mentor was Dr. Jim Hamilton who was the department chairman at WCU. He was essentially both a role model and mentor and his influence led me to attend the University of Georgia and earn a doctor of education in physical education.”
In announcing the award, the NASPE also cited Gorman’s encouragement for students to become involved in state and national organizations related to their majors.
“Multiple times PSU has earned the KAHPERD Student Membership Award for having the most student members in the state as well as the Future Professional Attendance Award for having the most majors in attendance at the KAHPERD Conventions. Thus, PSU has developed the enviable state reputation for traditionally having the most HPER majors participate at their annual state convention,” the NASPE wrote. “To assure this PSU tradition continues, he regularly uses his personal monies to pay for hotel rooms for his graduate and undergraduate students unable to afford HPERD conventions and workshops.”
Gorman came to PSU as an associate professor in 1988 and achieved full-professor status in 1992. He has served as graduate coordinator in the department since 1992 and was named a University Professor in 2003.