Pitt State presents Chamber of Commerce with award for community impact

Noting the many ways in which the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce lifts up the business community and has made a positive difference with the PSU Foundation, the Chamber was given the 18th Annual Rex Crowley Award Thursday morning at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. 

The surprise award was presented by Pittsburg State President Dan Shipp during the kickoff of the annual Community Campaign “Partners in Progress,” a joint effort by the PSU Foundation, Inc., and the Chamber. 

Started in 1985, the campaign seeks to engage local businesses with the university in a myriad of ways, from making financial contributions to hiring students and graduates to giving in-kind gifts. 

Shipp described the Chamber as “a force for positive change.” 

Among the Chamber’s contributions: founding the annual Paint the Town Red event, which spreads Pittsburg State spirit throughout the business community, and establishing the Paint the Town Red Scholarship Fund. 

The Chamber also offers relocation information to prospective students, faculty, staff, and their families, and helps member businesses — many owned by Pittsburg State alumni and many that employ Pittsburg State students and alumni — to grow. 

“We lift each other up with our efforts,” he said. 

In accepting the award on behalf of his team, Chamber President Blake Benson noted several local business owners who started small and have become very successful. What they have in common, he said, was that they “came here to Pittsburg State.” 

Benson credited his team with the Chamber’s accomplishments and praised Shipp for the “energy he and his family have brought to the community.” 

He also underscored the value Pittsburg State brings to the economic prosperity of the Pittsburg area. 

"Our business community would not be nearly what it is without Pittsburg State,” he said. 

About the campaign  

This year’s campaign is being co-chaired by Angela Meyer, a local attorney, and Zach Adams, marketing manager at Craw-Kan.  

In her remarks, Meyer said she’s glad to have chosen to remain in Pittsburg because it’s a nurturing place with a collaborative mindset and is a “community that keeps on giving.”  

Adams said he’s proud to be a Pittsburg State graduate and described the university as “an anchor” in the region. 

About the award

The award is named in honor of Rex Crowley, whose career as both a local banker and as a fundraising volunteer for Pittsburg State University is well known in the community.   

He was very civic minded – active in Rotary, the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the USD 250 school board, and boards at Mt. Carmel Medical Center (now Ascension Via Christi Hospital) and the Mental Health Association.   

After nearly 50 years of service at the bank, he retired in 1978 and took a non-salary position at Pittsburg State as director of development.