Pittsburg State University

By doing, learn.

Our Story

This new city needed teachers.

It was the early 1900s. Coal mining, brick manufacturing, and various heavy industries had become economic engines in Pittsburg. Opportunities abound for those ready to work.

But first they needed to learn. They needed teachers.

The Kansas State Manual Training Normal School Auxiliary opened in September 1903. One building, 54 students. This new school would prepare teachers in curriculum areas vital to success and prosperity in the hands-on, industrial age.


By doing, learn.

More than a century later, that mission remains at the core of Pittsburg State University. By providing interactive, engaging courses throughout four distinct colleges, Pitt State transforms the lives of our students, our community, and the entire Southeast Kansas region.

Located in the innovative, self-made city of Pittsburg, Kansas, our campus features the region’s premier facilities for hands-on technology and business education, athletics, and the arts. And we’re proud to be the only university in the nation with the Gorilla as our mascot.

A lot has changed since 1903. Location, name, logos, enrollment, etc. Change is inevitable. Change is valuable. But through it all, our belief in the power of education remains as strong and steadfast as the day we opened our doors to 54 people ready to change the world and themselves.


The main campus of Pittsburg State University is in many ways a community in and of itself. Along with our gorgeous, historic academic buildings, our campus also boasts some of the nation’s premier facilities for athletics, recreation, fitness, and the arts. The recently-expanded Overman Student Center also provides a variety of dining and shopping options for students and the community.


Pittsburg State’s academic programs are contained within four distinct colleges, each of which offer a variety of hands-on, interactive education opportunities.


The College of Arts and Sciences boasts more than 50 degree programs ranging from English, Math, and History to Biology, Chemistry, and Nursing. With a major emphasis on research opportunities, students and faculty use the latest in modern technology to participate in hands-on research projects with real-world implications.

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The College of Education offers award-winning programs in three distinct areas, all of which are aimed at developing the next generation of educators and leaders. These departments include Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Psychology and Counseling, and Teaching and Leadership.

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The Kelce College of Business is often recognized as one of the best business schools in the United States. Accredited by the AACSB, the Kelce College of Business offers degree programs in the areas of accounting, business economics, marketing, and more. As well as being known for its standard of excellence, the Kelce College of Business is also recognized annually among the top family-friendly business schools in the nation.

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The College of Technology, located within the world-class Kansas Technology Center, features many of the nation’s premier technology programs. Consisting of 15 majors within five departments -- Automotive Technology, School of Construction, Engineering Technology, Graphics and Imaging Technologies, and Technology and Workforce Learning – the College of Technology offers an educational experience unlike any other.

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Pittsburg State University is located on the southern edge of Pittsburg, Kansas – a thriving, innovative community of makers, dreamers, and people who just get things done.

The university’s main campus is located just minutes from Downtown Pittsburg, where students can enjoy various dining, shopping, and recreational activities. As a community of approximately 20,000 people, Pittsburg offers many of the popular big-city amenities, but with the charm and pace of a small town.

Pittsburg’s prime geographic location also provides easy access to many fun weekend trips, such as Kansas City and Northwest Arkansas.

Explore Pittsburg

Campus Exterior Oval

NCAA Division II Athletics

Intercollegiate athletics at Pittsburg State University encompasses a winning tradition and unrivaled competitive atmosphere that permeates our community. Our Gorillas compete in one of the most competitive conferences in the nation, and our athletes are high achievers both on and off the field. National championships in multiple sports and more Academic All-America(r) honorees than most - athletics at Pitt State are hard to beat. And it's not only our athletes - Gorilla fans bring the excitement to gameday and beyond and put Pittsburg on the map, right in the heart of Gorilla Nation.

Men's Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Track & Field

Women's Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Track & Field, Volleyball

Cheerleaders basketball

Gorilla History

Champions Gorilla Plaza Fall Statue Campus

When you're the only college or university in the nation to feature a Gorilla for your mascot people naturally want to know, "Why a Gorilla?"

It all dates back to October of 1920 and student named Harold "Babe" Alyea. Now, "Babe" wasn't just any student, he was an all-conference center on our basketball team, a member of the track & field team, and a yell-leader. The "Babe" was filled with school spirit, so much so that he founded an all-male pep squad whose members called themselves the Gorillas. At that time the term "gorilla" was also used to describe a rowdy group. 

These Gorillas weren't just rowdy, they were also supportive of our athletic teams. The Gorillas helped sell season tickets, arranged trains for fans to ride to out-of-town games, planned pep-rallies and even raised funds and helped construct Carnie Smith Stadium.


On January 15, 1925 the student body, perhaps so impressed with the group's spirit, voted to use the gorilla as a name and mascot for all of our athletic teams. (Our university didn't have an official mascot prior to this time.)

Gus Gorilla isn't your typical mascot. But then again, Pittsburg State isn't your typical university. Much like the majestic Gorilla, our alumni are known for their intelligence, strength, loyalty and wisdom. They are fearsome competitors and natural collaborators; always placing the well-being of the "troop" first.

It's why our alumni proudly say, "Once a Gorilla. Always a Gorilla."

The following Items are available for purchase:

Automotive class

PSU vs Emporia Football Evening Sunset Crowd Students Campus-

Describe mCampus Exterior Oval Buildings Students Downtown Community

Kansas Polymer Research Center Students Staff Lab Chemicals Science