March 01, 2013 12:00AM
On Apple Day, Thursday, March 7, Pittsburg State University will honor an individual and a couple for their longstanding service to the university and its students. Catherine M. Albright and Alan G. and Roberta Harlow Whetzel will receive the Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award at the Apple Day convocation at 3 p.m. in McCray Hall.
The award, established in 1991, honors the late Ralf J. Thomas, a long-time member of the faculty who volunteered his service to the PSU Alumni Association for 22 years and who was the first recipient of the award.
Johnna Schremmer, director of alumni and constituent relations, said this year’s recipients represent many alumni and friends of the university whose unsung service to PSU make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.
“Volunteers play a vital role in the life of the university,” Schremmer said. “When students see volunteers helping to make the university better, it sends a strong message that they are valued members of the Pittsburg State family.”
Catherine Albright earned a bachelor of science degree in Automotive Technology in 1981. Albright is a loyal Gorilla and all of her siblings are also PSU grads.
Albright’s service to PSU began as a student caller and has continued throughout her years as an alumna. She was president of the PSU Foundation in 2008-2009 and vice president in 2006-2007. She has been a Class Agent, a Foundation Board Trustee and Executive Committee member. Albright served on the PSU Presidential Search Committee and has been the scholarship contact for the Mary Frances Duffin Scholarship. Albright and her husband, Jay, have made a number of significant gifts to the university and have established a Testamentary Trust.
The Albrights live in Stillwell, Okla. They have two sons, Matthew and Michael.
Alan Whetzel earned a bachelor of science degree in education from PSU in 1960. His wife, Roberta, earned a bachelor of science degree in education from PSU in 1959.
The Whetzels met on a Pitt State basketball trip in 1958. A two-time basketball letterman with the Gorillas, Alan played for and later coached with PSU’s hall-of-fame men’s basketball coach, John Lance. Roberta was a cheerleader, active on campus, and an ardent supporter of athletics.
Alan and Roberta have been faithful supporters of the university and in particular, of student athletes for many years. They are longtime active members of the Wichita Chapter of the PSU Alumni Association and Alan has served as a member of the PSU Foundation Board of Trustees since 2006. In 2012, the Whetzels gave $1.2 million for a dramatic renovation of historic John Lance Arena, which included a new hardwood floor and new seating.
A public reception will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, in the Wilkinson Alumni Center to honor the Distinguished Service Award recipients.