VP of Student Life at Pitt State announces retirement 

Steve Erwin, vice president of Student Life at Pittsburg State University, has announced he will begin phased retirement at the end of this academic year. Since coming to campus, he’s overseen the opening of three buildings, the renovation of every residence hall, and the expansion and renovation of the Overman Student Center. It’s time to rest. 

Erwin came to Pittsburg State in 1994 to serve as the director of housing. 

“I was young, naïve, eager to be a director,” he said. “I hadn’t thought about the challenges it might present.” 

He earned his associate’s degree at Olney Central College, a bachelor’s and a master’s in education at Eastern Illinois University, an Ed.S. at Pitt State, and a doctorate in education at the University of Arkansas.  

He previously worked in residence life and student affairs at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, the University of Wisconsin Parkside, and the University of Wisconsin Platteville. 

Steve Erwin

At Pittsburg State, Erwin built a team and led a much-needed $30 million investment in student housing. The decade-long renovation project resulted in the modernization of every housing unit on campus. 

Under President Tom Bryant, Erwin lobbied to save historic Willard Halll — one of the oldest surviving residence halls this side of the Mississippi River but which had become uninhabitable. 

It was his first housing project; this year the university will celebrate the hall’s centennial. 


Erwin was promoted to associate vice president of student affairs in 1999, and to interim vice president for student affairs in 2002. In 2004, he was named associate vice president for campus life and auxiliary services. 

He credits many colleagues with helping him to develop new student-focused services and programs, including a counseling center integrated with a health center. During his tenure, Pittsburg State was the first entity to establish electronic medical records in the state of Kansas, and opened the Bryant Student Health Center, the Student Recreation Center, and the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. 

Overman Student Center

In 2015, the student life division was established as a reflection of the growing importance campus programs and co-curricular activities play in academic success and student retention, and he was named the division’s vice president. 

The division now includes Student Health Services, Campus Activities, Greek Life, Student Government, Student Wellness Programming, Campus Recreation and Intramural Sports, Dining Services, Gorilla Bookstore, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Counseling, Housing, and Parking and Police, as well as the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and the Overman Student Center. 

Erwin’s responsibilities have included serving as the emergency response coordinator, placing him at the forefront of issues surrounding inclement weather and campus security planning. 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Howard Smith praised Erwin’s contributions to the university and its students. 

"Steve has been an integral part of the leadership at Pitt State, leaving his mark on many, many areas of student life,” Smith said. “He will be missed." 

A national search will be conducted for a replacement. 

“I’m looking forward to having flexibility to travel and spend time with my family,” Erwin said. "I want to thank all the wonderful students, faculty, and staff I have had the privilege of collaborating with over the years.”