In March, PSU honored Barry Williamson and Steve and Mary Beth Robb with the 2014 Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award.


RobbAlumni Association President Ray Jacquinot, left, and President Steve Scott, right, present the Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award to Barry Williamson and Steve and Mary Beth Robb.

President Steve Scott said the Distinguished Service Award recipients were chosen because of “their passion for student achievement and for Pittsburg State University.”

The Alumni Association created the award in 1991 to recognize volunteer service to PSU and presented the first award later that year to Dr. Ralf Thomas, a retired faculty member and volunteer for the Alumni Association.

Williamson, former vice president at the Insurancecenter in Joplin, received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from PSU. Previously, he has been recognized by the university with its Outstanding Young Alumni Award and is currently serving on the Foundation Board. He has been a Phone-a-thon volunteer and is a Lifetime Member of the President’s Club.

Scott called Williamson and his wife, Barbara, (Class of ’75) “lifelong Gorillas” and praised them for their hard work in helping bring the Pitt State license plate program to Missouri.

“In fact, Barry’s and Barbara’s were the first applications we accepted for the program, which now sits at nearly 300 license plates,” Scott said.

Steve Robb is the former executive director of the Business and Technology Institute at PSU. Mary Beth received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from PSU in 1979 and today is the director of the KUMC Area Health Education Center, housed in Shirk Hall.

Scott praised Steve Robb for his assistance with the university economic development impact study and many other special projects. He noted, however, that Steve and Mary Beth may be best known for the colorful fags and banners they install at GorillaFest and other PSU events.