Distinguished Service Award

Longtime PSU supporter and community volunteer Joe Hart (BA ’59) was chosen as this year’s winner of the Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award, presented on Apple Day.

Jon Bartlow, Director of PSU Alumni and Constituent Relations, and PSU President Steve Scott congratulate Joe Hart (center), recipient of the 2019 Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award.

Jon Bartlow, Director of PSU Alumni and Constituent Relations, and PSU President Steve Scott congratulate Joe Hart (center), recipient of the 2019 Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award.

“I was surprised and I’m very, very appreciative of it,” said Hart, a native of Richmond, Kansas, who came to PSU after serving two years in the U.S. Army.

Hart gained leadership experience as a student in the Language & Literature Club, the Newman Club, and intramural sports.

His wife, Sally Hart, also is a PSU graduate, as is their son, Brian, a Wood Tech major who was named Outstanding Senior, and their daughter, Cindy, a business and nursing major.

After graduation, Hart remained in Pittsburg and has had a 60-year career as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual.

He is a former president of the PSU Alumni Association, a season ticket-holder in Athletics, has been a Phonathon and a Community Campaign volunteer, and is a charter member of the Heritage Society through the PSU Foundation.

He also hosted for many years a reception to honor senior scholar athletes, and in 2014, he and his wife created the Joe and Sally Hart Athletics Scholarship endowment for student athletes in volleyball and track and field.

Hart has consistently hired PSU students to work in his office and has made it a priority to connect business leaders in the community with PSU leaders.

 

Meritorious Achievement Award

Pittsburg State University chose Dave DeMoss, Col. (Ret.) Dr. Kenneth Hart, and Vice Adm. (Ret.) Jeff Wieringa to receive the 2019 Meritorious Achievement Award, the university’s highest honor.

2019 Meritorious Award recipients: Jeff Wieringa, Dr. Kenneth Hart, and  Dave DeMoss

2019 Meritorious Award recipients: Jeff Wieringa, Dr. Kenneth Hart, and
Dave DeMoss

DeMoss, a 1970, ’71, and ’81 graduate, was the first in his family to attend college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Printing Technology, a master’s in Administration, and signed on to be the executive director of the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush from its founding in 1976 through his retirement 33 years later.

Hart (BS ’61), became a doctor of osteopathy, a decorated Air Force veteran, a consultant for NASA, and a pioneer in aerospace medicine. As an 8th grader, he used the campus telescope just as the nation’s space program was getting underway. His career would lead to research that contributed to safer conditions for astronauts and new methods for treating wounds in the specialized field of hyperbaric medicine.

Wieringa, a 1975 graduate who said he thrived in the PSU Physics Department, wanted to fly jets as a child. He became both an award-winning pilot in the U.S. Navy and a chief engineer and vice president at Boeing, and had a long and notable career in military aviation, with more than 4,000 flight hours and 534 carrier landings.

“This year’s Meritorious Award recipients are living testimonials to the fact that PSU graduates can leave our campus and make a tremendous impact that is lasting and significant,” said Jon Bartlow, director of alumni and constituent relations.

 

Good Apple winners

Kyle Lang, one of two Good Apple winners this year chosen as part of Apple Day, has been a Pittsburg State alumnus less than five years, but his impact and reach already have been felt across Kansas.

PSU President Steve Scott and Good Apple recipient, Kyle Lang

PSU President Steve Scott and Good Apple recipient, Kyle Lang

A 2014 graduate with a degree in Environmental and Safety Management, he first worked for the Kansas Department of Labor where he was instrumental in the development of the Kansas Amusement Ride Act Inspection process.

Now the safety manager for Faith Technologies in Kansas City, where he manages the safety on work sites that may have as many as 600 company employees at any one time, he attributes his success partially to being active and involved during his time on campus, and to staying involved after his graduation.

Alheli Aranda Britez, a 2014 graduate in Music who earned her master’s in Human Resources in 2016, is the human relations manager for Bimbo Bakeries in Arizona and New Mexico.

PSU President Steve Scott and Good Apple recipient, Alheli Aranda Britez

PSU President Steve Scott and Good Apple recipient, Alheli Aranda Britez

Alheli, who is from Paraguay, was chosen as one of four Youth Ambassadors to study in the U.S. as a teen. Today, she directly supports 350 hourly and salaried associates in the areas of manufacturing, sales and distribution.

“I’m honored to receive this award in the name of my family, my country, and all the other international students who left their homes to achieve their ‘American dream’,” she said.