May 13, 2011 12:00AM
It's been 50 years since Jack Richardson walked across the stage to receive his PSU diploma. He's back this week to watch his granddaughter, Lauren Brogan, make that same walk on Saturday and to reconnect with other members of the class of '61 during the Half-Century Reunion on Friday.
Brogan, who is graduating with a degree in elementary education, said she has often thought of the fact that she is walking some of the same paths and sitting in some of the same classrooms that not only her grandfather walked and sat in, but also her grandmother and mother, as well.
"There definitely is a sense of legacy," Brogan said. "When I'm in some of the older buildings, I remember the stories I've been told about long enrollment lines and enrolling in your classes with paper."
Richardson, who went on to earn a doctor of optometry degree from the University of Houston and become a successful optometrist in southeast Kansas, said he has enjoyed watching as his children and now a grandchild have followed in his Gorilla footsteps.
"I was the first in my direct line to go to college," Richardson said. "I enjoyed my classes so hugely and met such great professors."
Richardson, who readily admits to being a big cheerleader for Pittsburg State, said he believes he has passed some of his enthusiasm for PSU to his children and grandchildren.
Brogan agreed, saying she at one time considered going out of state for college, but she's happy she decided to stay.
"I've grown up around Pitt State," Brogan said. "I remember going to the football games since I was little. When I was about two or three, my grandma and my mom made me a Pitt State cheerleading outfit for Halloween and then I wore it for a long time to the games."
After the reunion and after Brogan's graduation, the family plans to gather to celebrate just one more member of the family who is carrying on the Pitt State tradition.