Nick Bartelli and Kolleen Gladden have a lot in common. He founded Pittsburg State’s first Christian fraternity, and she founded the first Christian sorority. They both were active as leaders in Student Government Association and community service.

Both excelled academically: Bartelli earned a degree in communication in three years with a 4.0 GPA, while Gladden earned two degrees — English and graphics communications — with a 3.92 GPA.

Both were members of the University choir.

Both balanced co-curriculars well: Bartelli was employed at three campus-based media outlets — he was a news and sports anchor for CAPS-13 TV channel, and a reporter for the Collegio and KRPS — and Gladden was a student athlete and founded the Student-City Advisory Council with the Pittsburg City Commission.

And both were chosen for the ultimate student award: Bartelli as Outstanding Senior Man and Gladden as Outstanding Senior Woman. As such, they each delivered commencement addresses and plaques with their names will be installed at the flag pole in front of Russ Hall.

Originally from Platte City, Missouri, Bartelli was offered

“I just fell in love with learning here, and with the sense of community.” – Kolleen Gladden

significant scholarships to other larger state universities but chose instead to follow in the footsteps of his parents and attend Pittsburg State. He plans to continue his education at Pittsburg State as a graduate student this fall, following a study abroad trip to Spain and Portugal in May and a mission trip to the Middle East over the summer. Then, he’s setting his sights on law school.

Gladden applied to just one university — Pittsburg State — having been attracted to the flat rate tuition so that she could earn two degrees. She also loved the opportunities she had to make a large impact and positive change.

“When my high school friends gather around to catch up, they often marvel at the opportunities that Pittsburg State provides that their larger schools simply do not,” said Gladden, who praised faculty and staff for pushing her to reach her potential. She, like Bartelli, is going on to law school.

“When I began the interview

process with law schools, they often made note of the many experiences that were only possible through Pittsburg State. How many students at a large state school have even met their university president, let alone received a heartfelt letter of recommendation?” she said. “I just fell in love with learning here, and with the sense of community.”