April 23, 2013 12:00AM
The Centennial Bell Tower.
The Gus Gorilla statue at the south entrance of the Overman Student Center.
The concrete split-face gorilla in The Oval.
These have all become staples of the experience at Pittsburg State University. It’s hard to go anywhere on campus without seeing one or more of these objects.
However, these items share more than visual appeal and tradition.
“They wouldn’t be here without the generous support of private donors,” Becky May, PSU’s director of donor relations, said. “So much of what we have on our beautiful campus was funded through private donations, and it shows just how much pride our students, alumni and supporters take in Pittsburg State.”
On April 2, PSU honored its private donors during the university’s first Thank-A-Gorilla (T.A.G.) event. Students in the Advancement Ambassadors program placed bows, ribbons and tags on hundreds of campus objects that were funded by private donors. They also gave T.A.G. bracelets to students to symbolize the thousands of students who have received privately-funded scholarships.
May said the T.A.G. event has two main purposes.
“First, we want to educate the campus community about the tremendous level of support PSU receives from alumni and friends,” she said. “It’s important that we acknowledge just how much we have that was made possible through private giving.
“We also, as the name indicates, want to say ‘thank you’ to those donors,” she said. “We want to recognize their generous contributions and express how grateful we are for their support.”
Lynda Wilkinson, president of the PSU Foundation Board, said she expects PSU students to be “humbled and surprised” when they learn how private giving has affected their university experience.
“Private financial support has provided scholarships, bricks and mortar for facilities, world class technology, and beautiful art pieces across campus, to name a few,” Wilkinson said. “The support from private donors helps grow and maintain the physical appearance of our campus and enhances students’ learning opportunities in the classroom.”
It’s a lesson that is already resonating with PSU students.
“Just by being a part of this project, I have learned so much about the amount of support and private giving at PSU,” Alex Rausch, president of PSU Advancement Ambassadors, said. “We’re excited for the T.A.G. event because it gives us that chance to draw attention to how much is donated to PSU and to show how appreciative we are of the support.”
Other examples of objects that received tags included the Tyler Research Center, Whetzel Court inside John Lance Arena and “A Student’s Life” sculptures in the courtyard of the Kansas Technology Center.