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PSU Presidents

 

 

Russell S. Russ
Principal 1903 - 1911

Russell Station Russ was born in Highland Co., OH, in February 1863 to Dr. Matthew and Mary E. (Hufford) Russ. Russell was educated in the public schools of Hillsboro, graduated from the Hillsboro high school and then entered a private academy at Georgetown, Ohio. In 1883 he went to Piqua, KS., and taught in a country school for four years and then went to Moran to become principal of the high school. He resigned after two years to enter the State Normal at Emporia, where he graduated in 1892. In the fall of that year he became superintendent of the schools at Madison and then at Osawatomie. He married Lillian M. Dennison, of Kansas, in 1885. In 1896 he was offered and accepted the appointment of superintendent of schools at Pittsburg, and remained in that position until the establishment of the State Manual Training Normal, in 1903. Mr. Russ instituted at Pittsburg the first manual training course in the public schools of Kansas. He became more and more interested in manual training and believed there should be a school for training teachers in that line. He began the agitation for a manual training normal at Pittsburg, and it was due largely to his work before the legislature that the appropriation was made for the institution that was located at Pittsburg. When the school was completed Mr. Russ became its head. At the start there were four instructors and an attendance of forty pupils. By 1910 attendance grew to 1000 with 30 instructors. In 1911, the KS Board of Regents dismissed him as Principal of the State Normal in Pittsburg, as part of a battle to separate the Pittsburg school from its parent school in Emporia. He remained in Pittsburg and became involved in the insurance brokerage business. Mr. Russ and wife were members of the Presbyterian Church, where he was superintendent of the Sunday school for many years. He was a member of the Republican Party, and belonged to the Masonic order, being a Knight Templar. Mr. Russ and his wife had one son, Cash Marvin who was born September17, 1887 and died in Muskogee, OK in March 1973.

 
George E. Myers
Principal 1911 - 1913

George E. Myers became the second principal of the school in 1911 after the Board of Regents dismissed Principal Russell S. Russ, who had headed the school since its founding in 1903. During Myers short two-year term as principal, he presided over a school who was trying to win its own identity and separate from its parent the State Normal School of Emporia. Finally after a vigorous campaign organized by a committee of Pittsburg citizens led by J. T. Moore of the Pittsburg Headlight and Senator Ebenezer F. Porter and joined by faculty and students. . After Governor George Hodges was elected in 1912, the Board of Regents was abolished and a temporary committee was set up to manage the state’s normal schools. On May 7, 1913, they dismissed Principal Myers along with several others including President Hill of Emporia and removed the word Auxiliary changing the name of the school to the Kansas State Training Normal School of Pittsburg, thus separating it from Emporia.  On July 15, 1913, the office of principal was replaced with the office and title of president.

 
William A. Brandenburg
1913 - 1940

William A. Brandenburg became the first president of the Manual Training Normal School in 1913 after the state board of administration abolished the role of prinicipal on July 15, 1913. He had been superintendent of schools in Oklahoma City, and would hold the office of president for 27 years, the longest tenure of any president. In 1923 the legislature changed the name of the school to the Kansas State Teachers College of Pittsburg, in large part due to his enthusiasm and unrelenting push about teacher education and demanding that higher standards for teachers would only benefit the children in the schools. He can also be credited establishing graduate programs after being was authorized in 1929 by the Board of Regents.  The familiar oval in the center of the campus was part of his vision for the future layout of the college. He hired a landscape architects to draw up a landscape and building placement plan for the college in 1917. In declining health, he went to St. Louis, MO to visit his daughter and take a much needed vacation. While he was there he died on Oct 29, 1940. He is the only president to die in office at the college.

William Aaron Brandenburg was born in Volga City, Iowa Oct 10,1859 to Francis and Enfield (Maxwell) Brandenburg. He was the oldest of six children. William married Altana Adaline Penfield, June 22, 1893 in Volga City. They had six children: Lola Ethel, born Apr 28, 1894 died June 21, 1967; Amy Altana, born Apr 9, 1897; Francis Merrill, born July 11, 1899 died Nov 4, 1939; Harold Penfield, born Sept 11, 1902 died Feb 14, 1995; Helen M., born in 1903 and William Aaron Jr., born Jan 26, 1910 died Jan 20, 1975.

 
O. P. Dellinger
Interim President 1940 - 1941

Oris Polk Dellinger was born Aug 14, 1877 at Bicknell, Knox Co., Indiana to William A. and Alice (Polk) Dellinger. They had the following children: Oris, Lawrence S. born Oct 19, 1879 – died Apr 12, 1938; Edgar born July 31, 1882; Ralph born July 1884; Chester born Feb 24,1886 and Robert born July 23,1889 – died Jan 1968. Oris married Anna Forreal Cunningham, the daughter of James and Emma (Wampler) Cunningham, June 17, 1904 in Vigo Co., Indiana. Oris and Anna had the following children: Alice Hope, born Mar 25, 1905; Ralph Alexander, born Dec 21, 1906 – died Apr 13, 1994; Mary Catherine, born Sept 24, 1912 and William Polk, born July 13, 1915. The family lived at 1708 S. Olive in Pittsburg and was a member and elder of the First Christian Church in Pittsburg. After growing up on a farm, Dellinger enrolled in 1894 at the Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute and graduated in 1900 with a teaching certificate. He then went to the study at the Chicago University, where he worked with Bradley Moore Davis, a prominent botanist. He then taught from 1901 to 1903 at the Indiana State Normal School. In 1904, he went back to school at Indiana University at Bloomington and graduated with an A. B. degree. He moved to Worcester, Massachusetts where he was an biology assistant at Clark College. It was while he was there that he received an honorary fellowship, which allowed him to earn his PH. D. in 1907 from Clark College. He then became a professor of biology at Winona College of Agriculture in Indiana, where he spent 1908 and part of 1909, coming to the Manual Training Normal in Pittsburg in the fall of 190. He became the head of the biology dept soon after he arrived at the school. He was responsible for getting approval from the Board of Regents in January of 1929 to offer a Master of Science degree at the school. In April of 1929, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Graduate School, of which he served from 1929 to 1939. He was then appointed Dean of the College and Graduate School from 1939 to 1945. Dellinger was chosen as interim president after the death of President Brandenburg on Oct 29, 1940. He accepted the post on Nov 1, 1940 and remained in the position until June 30, 1941 when Rees H. Hughes was selected as the new president by the Board of Regents

 
Rees H. Hughes
1941 - 1957

Rees H. Hughes was born June 9, 1892 in Fort Scott, Kansas.  He began his teaching career as a rural high school teacher in Fort Scott and Labette Co., KS. He was able to opt out of going to fight in WW I due to being a teacher and supporting his mother Elizabeth Hughes. He married Isabel Savage in 1917 and had one daughter Marian born in 1919. In 1921, he became the principal of Parsons High School. He then served as Superintendent for 16 years. He helped establish Parsons Junior College, now Labette Community College in 1923. He received an A. B. from Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas and his masters from Columbia University. Reese H. Hughes became president on July 1, 1941 replacing O. P. Dellinger who had been placed in as the interim president after President William A. Brandenburg’s death Oct 29, 1940.  He retired in 1957, but remained on the faculty as Professor of Education and Psychology. He was elected to the Kansas House as a Republican in 1963 to represent.District 22, which included Pittsburg. He served in this capacity until his death on Nov 10, 1973 while in session in Topeka, KS.

 
Dr. Leonard H. Axe
1957 - 1965

Leonard H. Axe was born Oct 9, 1900 in Council Grove, Kansas to Joseph H. and Minnie M. Axe. He married Hermia E. (?) in 1929. He went to college at Baker University where he received his B. A. in 1923. He then earned a law degree from the University of Kansas in 1929. In 1942, he received a Doctor of Science of Jurisprudence from the University of Michigan. In 1953, Baker University awarded him with a LL.D. degree. Dr. Axe was the dean of the School of Business at the University of Kansas when he became president in September 1957 upon the retirement of Rees H. Hughes. In 1965, Axe reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 and was replaced by George F. Budd by the Board of Regents. Leonard H. Axe died in Dec 1975 in Topeka, KS.

 
George F. Budd
1965 - 1976
George F. Budd was appointed president after Leonard H. Axe retired in 1965 and served until his resignation in June 1976.
 
Dr. James A. Appleberry
1977 - 1983
James A. Appleberry became president in January 1977 after an exhaustive search with over 150 candidates applying. Appleberry had been the vice chancellor at the University of Kansas before coming to Pittsburg. Only a few months into his tenure, the college received university status and became Pittsburg State University. Two buildings were built while he was president, Axe Library which was dedicated April 25, 1981 and McPherson Nurse Education Building built in 1977. Dr. Appleberry left PSU in 1983
 
Dr. Donald W. Wilson
1983 - 1995
Dr. Donald Wallin Wilson, 65, the president of Pittsburg State University from 1983 until 1995, died Friday, May 16, 2003, at Thailand. He was born Jan. 9, 1938, at Poona, India, to missionary parents, Nathaniel and Hanna Wilson. He became the sixth president of PSU on Dec. 1, 1983, and served in that role until April 7, 1995. As a youth, he lived with his parents in the Far East and completed his secondary education while living in Indonesia. He received his bachelor of arts degree in religion and speech from Southern College at Collegedale, Tenn., in 1959; a master of arts degree in systematic theology from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., in 1961, and a Ph.D. in speech communication from Michigan State University in 1966. Prior to PSU he served in the following capacities: dean of applied arts and technology and professor of communications and history at Ontario Colleges, Ontario, Can., 1968-73; academic dean and vice president for academic development and professor of communications and history at Olivet College, Olivet, Mich., 1973-76; president of Castleton State College, Castleton, Vermont, 1976-79, and president of Southampton College, Long Island University, New York, 1980-83. In 1988, Dr. Wilson proposed to the Kansas Board of Regents the construction of a new technology complex that was realized nearly a decade later in the $28 million Kansas Technology Center, which is the largest academic building in the university's history. Wilson also is credited with establishing the university's first comprehensive long-range planning model, which provided the foundation for the university's continuing accreditation process with the North Central Association. During his tenure at PSU, Dr. Wilson published three books on Indonesia and that country's leadership, "The Long Journey from Turmoil to Self-Sufficiency," "The Next 25 Years: Indonesia's Journey Into the Future," and "Sudomo: The Indispensable Man,." He was recognized for numerous civic contributions and achievements while serving as president of PSU. He was the first recipient of the Spirit of Pittsburg Award in 1987. He helped found and served as first chairman of Pittsburg NOW!, an economic development group. He served on the Pittsburg Business and Industry Advisory Council, the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, the Bank IV Board of Directors and the Pittsburg YMCA Board of Directors. He also received Outstanding Alumnus Award from Michigan State University, 1984, and the Alumnus of Achievement Award from Andrews University in 1981. He was appointed to the Governor's Commission on a Public Agenda for Kansas in 1989. He was elected to the NCAA Division II President's Commission in 1994. He is survived by his first wife, Kathleen Fischer; his current wife, Amporn Wilson, of Thailand; two daughters, Carrie Wilson and Jennie Wilson Kafka, both of Pittsburg; two sons, Greg Wilson, of Woodbury, Minn., and Andrew Wilson, of Olathe; two brothers and two sisters and 10 grandchildren. Memorial services will be 10 a.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Thomas D. Sims officiating. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Brenner Mortuary Chapel, where friends may call after 10 a.m. Sunday to sign the register. The body has been cremated. Arrangements are under the direction of Brenner Mortuary, 114 E. Fourth St., Pittsburg. - obituary, The Morning Sun, Pittsburg, Kansas, May 29, 2003
 
Dr. John R. Darling
1995 - 1999
Dr. John R. Darling became president in Dec 1995. He had been Chancellor of LSU- Shreveport, President of Academic Affairs at Mississippi State and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research at Texas Tech before coming to Pittsburg. Under his leadership the university finished construction of and opened the Kansas Technology Center, and began a major renovations of Russ Hall, Willard Hall and Horace Mann.
 
Dr. Thomas W. Bryant
1999 - Present
 
 
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