September 21, 2016 2:15PM
Over the past 60 years, Pittsburg State University has had just two chief financial officers. It will soon begin a search for the third. John Patterson, the current vice president for administration and finance, has announced his plans to retire this year.
Patterson, who came to PSU in 1990 following the retirement of Clifford Beougher, said making the decision to retire has given him an opportunity to reflect on a time at Pittsburg State that has been arguably one of the most significant in the university’s 114-year history.
Since Patterson arrived on campus in 1990, the university has nearly doubled in size physically, growing from 1,477,516 square feet in 47 buildings to 2,284,537 square feet in 85 buildings. Enrollment has gone up from 5,918 to more than 7,100 and total annual expenditures have grown from $39.5 million to nearly $118 million. The PSU Foundation assets have shot up from $9 million to more than $85 million and scholarships awarded have gone from $564,000 to about $3.5 million.
“It truly is amazing how the university has grown both in terms of buildings and enrollment and also in terms of stature as an academic institution,” Patterson said. “It has happened because of the hard work of dedicated employees, with outstanding leadership of four university presidents.”
Patterson said the project that stands out to him as perhaps the most significant of his tenure at Pittsburg State is the construction of the Kansas Technology Center, which was completed in 1997.
“That’s the one I’m most proud of because of the visible impact that it has had on the university,” Patterson said.
He said it was that effort that laid the groundwork for a host of projects to follow, culminating in the construction of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, the Plaster Indoor Events Center and expansion and renovation of the Overman Student Center, all within the past two years.
Patterson is quick to give credit for these and other accomplishments at the university to the presidents he’s worked for, others around him and to loyal PSU alumni. He reserves his highest praise, however, for his wife, Janet, and his family.
“I think there are actually two of us retiring,” Patterson said. “Janet’s been to more dinners and official functions over the past 27 years than I can count. She has been a loyal university supporter and has made her own contribution to our success. Janet and I will continue to support the university and we will miss our regular contact with students, employees, donors and friends of PSU.”
Now, Patterson said, he and Janet will focus their attention on their family. They have five children and eight grandchildren. All are within 100 miles, except for their son, Josh, and his wife, who live in California.
President Steve Scott said the university will conduct a national search for the next vice president for administration and finance, although he didn’t call it a replacement.
“One doesn’t replace someone like John Patterson,” Scott said. “His knowledge and experience have been invaluable to the university. We will look for the very best person to continue and to build upon the great things John has done for PSU. We wish John and Janet only the best as they move into another phase of life’s journey.”