Dan Bikes Kansas: Pitt State president plans to cycle across the state for students 

A year ago, Dan Shipp was preparing to assume leadership of Pittsburg State University with an initial goal of getting to know the campus and the community. Now, he’s set his sights on getting to know communities throughout the state while raising money for Pitt State students — and he’ll be doing it mostly on two wheels. 

“In speaking with our students and their families, something I heard over and over again was the need to keep college affordable,” Shipp said. “And in conversations with student leaders, we discussed what we could do to raise more scholarship funds for students.” 

At one point, a student jokingly suggested he run across Kansas and sponsors could pay per mile. 

“It was kind of like Forest Gump! My response was, ‘That’s way too far for me to run, but I would bike through Kansas for our students...count me in!’,” Shipp said. “Let’s go!” 

Shipp will ride a bike to raise funds for scholarships that will benefit the student living and learning experience at Pitt State. His trip will begin on May 15. 

“I’m new to Kansas and it will be fun to get to know the state and our people up close and personal, and at the same time plant an appreciation for Pittsburg State University throughout the state. We can share the Gorilla story as we go and let people know who we are and what we stand for,” he said. “It sends the message that at Pitt State, we are committed to our students’ success and not afraid to do difficult things on their behalf.”  

In his 20s, he completed a six-day adventure cycling trip through Montana and Idaho at roughly 90 miles per day.  

“I remember thinking it was a great way to see Montana and Idaho,” he said. “But I’m not in my 20s anymore and if the wind in Kansas is what I think it is, this will be a very difficult challenge. That said, riding for our students is all the motivation I need.” 

Now in his 50s, he’s facing a ride of almost 800 miles over a span of 12 days.  

Dan on peleton

“Let’s be clear, I am not a cyclist. Do I have a bike? Yeah. Do I ride around with the kids? Yes. But I’m not a cyclist by any stretch, so I’m getting on my exercise bike at home regularly to start preparing,” he said. 

The route will take him, as well as a few students and colleagues who will join him for various segments, from Pittsburg north to Topeka, west to southwest to Wichita, west to Dodge City, then north to Colby, with hopscotching between cities like Emporia, Pratt, and Garden City. 

Bike route

“There's a lot of Kansas that I haven’t seen,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing and meeting people throughout the state.” 

Along the way, events and gatherings with students, leaders, alumni, and residents are being planned in each community. They can follow his journey online at pittstate.edu/danbikesks

“I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep the cost of coming to Pitt State affordable for our students and their families,” he said. “The money we raise for students is critically important. It says something to our community, too, who may be asking ‘What are you doing to help students?’”  

“Just as importantly, I hope to hear from Kansans about the need for what we do at Pitt State – their expectations of higher education. What families and students are thinking, what hardships they face, and what things they’re hopeful for.” 

“It’s also a chance to share the story of Gorilla Nation, to talk about what we’re doing here that’s really special in Pittsburg, Kansas.”


Meet Dan Shipp and visit about his trip across Kansas at Brick + Mortar Social House, 401 N. Broadway in Downtown Pittsburg, during a “celebrity bartender” fundraising event. It's planned from 4 to 8 p.m. as part of Gorilla Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising effort. All tips and drink profits will go to unrestricted scholarships. 

Learn more:

Dan Bikes Kansas

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