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K-State Today

June 30, 2011



Union director's retirement reception to be July 13

By Audrey Taggart-Kagdis

The K-State Student Union family requests the honor of your presence at a reception and program honoring Bernard J. Pitts, assistant vice president for student life and executive director of the K-State Student Union, on his upcoming retirement.

The event will be 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, in the Grand Ballroom on the second floor of the union.

As the union's executive director, Pitts provided the oversight for the 1998-2000 student referendum enhancement and renovation project. The project created a user-friendly new look, feel, and contemporary design to the union. Program venues and conference/meeting spaces were refreshed, as well as major infrastructure upgrades, modernized restrooms and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements.

The revised bookstore footprint and the new service areas added to the union during the renovation provided many new services and programs for union patrons.  Improvements ranged from a food court featuring major national branded concepts; a computer store specializing in Apple products; coffee shop; convenience store; full service branch bank; campus radio studio; multicultural student organizations and Greek affairs office spaces; embellished art gallery; to the revitalization of the recreation/bowling center.

The union also extended outreach services and programs to other parts of campus and the community. Pitts’ vision included establishing the Little Apple Jazz Festival, the Union Governing Board part-time student scholarship, union staff recognition award program, a robust Union Program Council calendar of events, the Vision Award program, the Friends of the Union foundation and meeting rooms that featured ethnic themes that recognized Kansas and K-State artists.

As the assistant vice president for student life, Pitts provided support to the Center for Child Development and Recreational Services. Both entities have had or are currently going through new and renovation building construction.

Pitts served two terms on the executive committee of the Association of College Unions-International and was president from 1996-97. He was recognized for his service to the college union ideal in 2005 as the recipient of the highest honor given by Association of College Unions-International, the prestigious Butts-Whiting Award.

Prior to his time at K-State Pitts served in administrative roles at several universities including St. Louis University; Oregon State University; Western Oregon State University; West Virginia University; California State University, East Bay; and Iowa State University.

Pitts’ volunteer involvements include the First Tee of Manhattan Board of Directors, Boys and Girls Board of Governors, the Flint Hills Regional Leadership program, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce committees, HBCUs HONDA All Star Challenge Advisory board and the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity/Research Board of Directors.