Pitt State's campus icons include the columns at the entrance to Russ Hall, the Oval, the rock wall around Brandenburg Field and Jack Overman.
Since 1936, generations of Pittsburg State University students have linked Jack Overman and PSU in the same way they associate major buildings and structures with the university. At 91, Overman, who was for many years the director of the student center that now bears his name, continues to play a role in the daily life of the university. He attends sporting events, concerts, pep rallies, and other functions on campus.
A former cheerleader, Overman may be best known for his crimson and gold garb and the cow bell he rings at PSU football games. His enthusiasm for all things Pitt State is contagious and that may be the secret to the universal affection he receives.
"It's kind of hard to explain," said Brittney Squire, a senior from Ransom, Kan. "Jack Overman sort of radiates enthusiasm about Pitt State. It's a vibe he has. It just brightens your day (to see him)."
Overman sometimes seems surprised by the high regard in which he is held throughout the PSU and Pittsburg communities, perhaps because his enthusiasm for PSU is just a part of his nature.
"You think about your family. You think about your religion. And you think about your university," Overman said. "These are my three major loves. . . I get such a kick out of watching these kids and watching them develop."
In fact, Overman gives the students some of the credit for his longevity.
"I actually think one of the reasons I've lived to be 91 is the students," Overman said.