August 07, 2014 10:00AM
Less than a year after its official launch, the environmental and safety management program at Pittsburg State has received its first corporate sponsorship.
“And that’s a big deal for this new program,” said Pat Flynn, the program’s coordinating professor. “A lot of times, it can take years to build those relationships and get the ball rolling on corporate contributions.”
Earlier this month, CNA Insurance donated $2,500 to the environmental and safety management scholarship fund. CNA is the eighth-largest commercial property and casualty insurance company in the U.S. The company’s officials said they chose to support the new program because of the type of professionals it will develop.
“The students who will come out of the environmental and safety management program at Pitt State will fit perfectly into risk-control departments like ours,” said Tom McAtee, CNA risk control director for Kansas and Missouri.
Gary Clevenger, CNA’s national risk control director, said the company donates to many large Division I universities across the country. The safety program at PSU, he said, ranks with all of them.
“The program you’ve put in place here is right up there with any I’ve seen across the country,” Clevenger said. “The unique degrees you can get here combined with the technology facility and faculty at Pitt State made this an easy choice for us. We definitely want to support this program.”
The environmental and safety management degree was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in December 2012 and was first offered in the fall semester of 2013.
The new degree program built upon the safety minor and emphasis offerings.
“We’ve been working on this for quite some time,” said Jim Otter, chair of the Pitt State School of Construction. “The College of Technology began offering safety courses well before 1980 and we’ve since added a minor and emphasis area. So, a student could major in construction with an emphasis in safety. With the new degree program, our students can major directly in safety and pick an emphasis such as construction, environmental, fire safety or general industry safety.
“Upon graduation,” Otter said, “they’ll be able to identify themselves as true safety professionals with hands-on experiences. That will pay great dividends for them when they leave school and enter the workforce. Industry is always looking for highly trained, well-educated safety professionals. This new degree program is tailor-made to produce such professionals. A lot of credit can be given to our strong safety advisory board for their many years of support and input that helped lead to this degree."
Flynn said receiving the corporate contribution from CNA adds credibility to the program.
“It’s not just about the money, which will certainly help with scholarships,” he said. “CNA’s contribution is a sign that industry professionals and companies see this program as viable and effective. That’s a very nice feeling to have after just one year.”