Jul. 19—PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott has announced he will retire from his position in June 2022.
"I've strived to lead a life of purpose serving others, and even in the years ahead, I'm not finished," he said in a statement. "It will be clearer as the year closes what that might entail; I'm still tenured as a faculty member here, so perhaps that might entail teaching — I just don't yet know."
Scott earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Pittsburg State in 1973. He also holds a master's degree in mathematics from Oklahoma State University, an educational specialist's degree from Pittsburg State and a doctorate degree in education from Oklahoma State University.
Scott has for the past three decades served the university as a faculty member in the College of Education, chair of the department of special services and leadership studies, dean of the College of Education, vice president for academic affairs, and provost. He became president in 2009.
During his tenure as president, he has overseen several major construction projects that have transformed the landscape of the university, including the funding and completion of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, Block22, the Plaster Center and the expansion of the Overman Student Center.
He also brought about several academic changes, including the addition of a doctoral nursing program and the region's first undergraduate polymer chemistry degree, as well as the expansion of the Gorilla Advantage tuition discount program to 31 states.
Former Commissioner of Education Andy Tompkins described Scott as a "dedicated and visionary servant leader" with a passion for higher education.
"One quality that has been at the heart of his success is an unrelenting commitment to continually improve his leadership so that he can be worthy of the opportunities and responsibilities that his position has afforded him," Tompkins said in a statement. "The care he takes in working through difficult decisions, the focus that he places on growing leaders at the university, and the risks that he has taken to help Pittsburg State evolve in its service to students, faculty, alumni, donors, colleagues and the state are prime examples of this commitment."
Cheryl Harrison-Lee, chair of the Kansas Board of Regents, thanked Scott for his years of service to PSU. The board governs the state's six public universities.
"He has always been a passionate advocate for students and staff and an innovative leader who cared deeply about the Pittsburg community," she said in a statement. "His leadership has been transformative for the university and Southeast Kansas. The regents wish Dr. Scott all the best."
Scott notified the board of his decision last week, and its nine members will discuss the search for a new president in the coming months. Scott said he and his wife plan to stay in Pittsburg, where they have bought and renovated a home.