PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Apple Day activities kick off on Wednesday and continue Thursday at Pittsburg State University with ceremonies and award recognition.
Apples figure prominently in the school’s history, dating to Feb. 21, 1903, when Gov. William J. Bailey signed the bill creating the Kansas State Manual Normal School Auxiliary, or what is now PSU.
Classes began the following September in the city-owned Central School building at the northwest corner of Fifth and Walnut streets, but growing enrollment required a larger facility.
Pittsburg’s Sen. Ebenezer Porter successfully fought for a building appropriation, aided by Principal Russell Station Russ, faculty and community leaders. For his lobbying efforts on the floor of the legislature, then-Mayor Clarence Price was fined a barrel of apples.
Upon the return of Russ and the faculty to campus, students good-naturedly fined them a barrel of apples for their participation. The funding they obtained was used to build Russ hall, and in 1907 the tradition of Apple Day began.
At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, a brief ceremony will take place at University Lake to re-dedicate a 20-year-old apple tree and plaque. Students planted the tree in 1994 to commemorate the appropriation to build Russ Hall. Today, the tree remains strong, but the plaque installed after its planting went missing.
The ceremony is open to the public, with parking available at nearby Wilkinson Alumni Center where a brief reception will be held afterward.
Apple Day Convocation will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday in the recital hall at McCray Hall, the university’s music building.
The convocation will honor those chosen for the Outstaning Faculty Award, the Golden Gorilla Award and the Distinguished Service Award.
Prior to the convocation, the PSU Alumni Association will hold a reception honoring the Distinguished Service Award recipients Steve and Mary Beth Robb, and Barry Williamson. The reception will be held at 2 p.m. at the Cecil & Eva C. Wilkinson Alumni Center, 401 E. Ford Ave.