February 23, 2012 12:00AM
Pittsburg State University will honor two men Thursday for their service to the university and its students. Dr. Donald Holsinger and Don Smith will receive the Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award at the Apple Day convocation at 3 p.m. on March 1 in McCray Recital 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 are representatives of 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.”
Don Holsinger, a Pittsburg physician who received a bachelor’s degree from PSU in 1960, has been involved in almost every aspect of the PSU community. Most recently, Holsinger served as medical director of the Bryant Student Health Center and played an important role in the fundraising for the center and its construction. Holsinger is a lifetime member of the President’s Club, is a PSU Foundation Board trustee and is a charter member of the Heritage Society and a Friend of the Music Department. He has served as a Community Campaign chairperson, is a member of the Gorilla Legislative Network and has participated in the Excellence in Athletics Endowment. A recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Holsinger and his wife, Kay, BS 1960, have established the Donald and Kay Holsinger Scholarship.
Don Smith, a minister with Campus Christians, has made it his mission to help international students get around. Nearly 15 years ago, Smith recognized that one of the biggest problems new international students faced when they arrived in Pittsburg, was getting around in a city that then had no public transportation. To address that problem, Smith established a bicycle loan program for international students. The students pay a small deposit, which they get back when they return the bicycle. Smith provides maintenance for free and offers the students safety information and locks to keep the bicycles safe. Today, the program has grown to more than 200 bicycles and serves as a vivid example of the many ways the campus and community welcome students from around the world.