Melissa Payne’s mantra: “Don’t quit your senior year, kids.” 

Payne, 50, became one of the newest alumni last year when she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. It took her 26 years to complete it. 

“I have such a sense of accomplishment,” she said. 

She wasted no time in returning to campus: she soon was hired as an administrative assistant in KCOB. In that role, she supports three areas: Academic Advising, Career Readiness & Enactus; Outreach & Business Engagement; and Kelce Business & Economic Research Center. 

“I have two children who have completed college — my youngest graduated from the  

nursing program at PSU five years ago, and another earned an Art History degree from KU two years before that. You look at yourself and think, ‘What’s next for me?’,” said Payne, who first began as a student at Pittsburg State in 1993.  

Life interrupted her plan to graduate in four years, but she continued to take classes on and off as she was able. “My family is proud, and I’m proud,” she said. 

She’s not stopping; she was just accepted into the graduate program and will pursue her MBA with an emphasis in Human Resource Development.