K-State officials unveiled new signage to dedicate the Bosco Student Plaza Friday at the end of the ceremony in honor of Pat Bosco’s retirement.
Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, will retire at the end of June after almost 50 years at the university.
Jordan Kiehl, outgoing student body president, unveiled the sign sitting on the northeast side of the plaza, as well as two more surprises for Bosco. Lettering will be placed on the fountain on the east side that will say “Bosco Student Plaza.” Additionally, a temporary plaque sits outside the south entrance describing the man behind the name.
“Dr. Pat J. Bosco provided nearly five decades of dedicated service to the students of Kansas State University,” it reads in part. “He came to Kansas State University as an undergraduate from upstate New York, fell in love with the school, and never left.”
President Richard Myers said it was difficult to describe what Bosco had accomplished in his nearly 50 years.
“In 1971 — who’d have thought he was that old? — he made the seamless transition from student to employee,” Myers said. “Now, he makes the transition to retiree.”
Before ice cream and hugs, Bosco got the opportunity to speak to the crowd standing in his plaza, thanking those who came before him, those who worked with him and everyone in between.
“I’m good at hellos, but I’m not good at goodbyes,” he said. “With so many of you here, it’s easier.”
Bosco deflected the attention, saying the ceremony, the plaza or all the celebration around his retirement was not really about him, but rather about the people he thanked. He also mused about the circumstances that put him at K-State in the first place.
“I was the least likely to be here,” he said. “My grandparents didn’t speak a word of English. My parents divorced when I was 8… We worked through our education at a community college… I came here with nothing but a dream. K-State is my family’s American dream.”
Bosco had his own surprise at the end of his speech. In the department of student life, the Putting Students First award is given to two recipients each year who did their best to “crawl through glass for the students.”
“Honey, we’re naming it after you,” he told his wife Susan Ariola Bosco. It will now be called the Dr. Susan Ariola Bosco Division for Student Life Putting Students First Award.
He said that even in his retirement, he will uphold a promise he makes to all students when they enter K-State: If someone catches Bosco not wearing purple, he’ll get them a scholarship.
“I will wear purple the rest of my life as a commitment to family,” he said. “If you see me not wearing purple, I will get you a scholarship. It might not be a big one, but I’ll get you one.”
He’ll also potentially be getting funds ready for his grandchildren.
“My kids know it’s in our will that if the grandkids come here, books, tuition everything will be paid for by Susan and me,” he said.
“If they go somewhere else, they get nothing.”