KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 24, 2022
Throughout his life, Kennesaw State University graduate Jeff Pruitt sought to lend a hand where he could. With that in mind, Pruitt’s widow, Carla, figured the best way to establish his legacy would be through an endowed scholarship in Kennesaw State’s Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education.
“Jeff and I dated while attending Kennesaw State, and we always talked about giving back,” Carla Pruitt said. “He took seriously his career as a helper, and when he died, setting up a scholarship seemed like the perfect way to celebrate our alma mater.”
Carla sought donations to establish the Jeff Pruitt Inspirational Endowed Scholarship after he died in July 2020 at the age of 56. Funded partially from those donations, the endowment exceeds $25,000, and is administered by the KSU Foundation.
Carla Pruitt said the scholarship is earmarked for a health-physical education (HPE) major with demonstrated financial need, which describes working students to a tee.
“Because he worked while going to school, Jeff wanted to help students like him,” Carla said. “That KSU has programs specifically for non-traditional students makes this an even more appropriate scholarship.”
Pruitt started working in Roswell’s Department of Recreation and Parks when he was 15 years old, keeping score and officiating games, among other tasks. Carla Pruitt said he realized early on he wanted to make a career of community recreation, but his supervisor in Roswell insisted that Jeff get his college degree.
Jeff continued to work with Roswell Recreation and Parks while attending KSU, where he served as president of the HPE student club. Within days of earning his bachelor’s degree, Jeff started full-time work at Roswell Recreation and Parks where he advanced rapidly, spending more than three decades with the organization. He served as deputy director for eight years until his death and was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association’s Hall of Fame.
“Jeff was an institution in Roswell, and he never met a stranger,” Carla said. “He was always looking for the best way to improve recreation for everyone and was involved in the city in so many ways.”
This is the first endowed scholarship designated for the HPE program, and interim department chair Brian Culp said it will go a long way toward helping the program grow.
“More health professionals adept at improving the lifestyles of citizens through recreation and play are needed, and our program addresses this need,” Culp said. “Kennesaw State has a chance to be a leader in this field, so these scholarship recipients can become the recreation experts of the future.”
– Dave Shelles
Photo by Dedra Waidi
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.