December 06, 2012 12:00AM
The power of Gus Gorilla was on display in November when Strategic Marketing Affiliates named Pittsburg State University as its 2012 New Institution of the Year.
The award, which is based on licensed merchandise sales, was presented during SMA’s annual conference in Indianapolis.
Pittsburg State has partnered with SMA to help protect and promote its licensed merchandise since November of 2010. SMA President and CEO Bob Bernard said the award is a reflection of the university’s increasing national prominence and the passion of its fans.
“Pittsburg State has extraordinary support from its community and fans,” Bernard said. “When you combine this with the incredible success of its athletics and a brand that is among the most unique in the nation, it’s easy to see why people are so proud to show their Gorilla pride.”
Pittsburg State officials said they were humbled by the recognition and gave credit to its many partners.
“We’re fortunate to have incredible fans, supportive vendors, a great partner in SMA and a brand that people want to showcase,” said Chris Kelly, associate vice president for university marketing and communication. “Every split-face Gorilla you see is a vote of confidence in Pittsburg State University. It really is a great time to be a Gorilla.”
Pittsburg State saw its merchandise sales increase by more than 200 percent during the 2011-12 academic year thanks, in part, to a combination of athletic and academic success.
This past year, the Gorillas won an NCAA Division II national football championship, played for a basketball championship during the NCAA women’s Division II Elite 8 tournament and placed 16th in the nation among all divisions in the 2012 Students in Free Enterprise national competition.