Anne S. Pruitt (1976-1977)


Thirty-Seventh President

ACPA’s 37th president, Anne S. Pruitt, joined ACPA in 1950. She was the 11th woman and the first African American to serve in that office. The announcement of Pruitt’s election was reported at the first Executive Council meeting on March 4, 1975 during ACPA’s convention in Atlanta. At the opening banquet celebrating the completion of ACPA’s first half century of operation on March 5, she was introduced to the audience as were her parents, Loring A. and Anne (Ward) Smith.

Anne Pruitt was promoted to Professor of Education at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland in 1974 where she had accepted a position on the faculty as Assistant Professor in 1963, then was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1969. Pruitt was also Director of Counseling at Mather College of CWRU during 1970-72 and, the next year, Assistant Director of Career Planning at the Center for Student Development.

Georgia born and reared, Anne Pruitt graduated from Hutto High School in Bainbridge at the close of World War II. Then she attended Howard University for the next four years. On a Howard tuition scholarship during 1947-49, she graduated with a B.S. degree (cum laude) with a Psychology major and Education/German minors. During 1949-50, she attended Teachers College, Columbia University (TC) where she was awarded the M.A. degree in Guidance and Student Personnel Administration.

With her master’s degree, she accepted a position at Howard University during 1950-52 as Resident Intern and Women’s Counselor. Her major responsibility was to provide in-service counselor training for Senior Mentors – who were responsible for freshmen women residents – but also to serve as an assistant residence hall director. Then she returned to her hometown high school as teacher-counselor for three years. From 1955-59, she was Dean of Women and Dean of Students at Albany (GA) State College, then she accepted a similar position at Fisk University in Nashville (TN) for the next two years. During her years at Fisk, her students helped to institute the Student Sit-ins and Freedom Rides that galvanized the non-violent Civil Rights protests and flashed the news around the world.

Anne returned to Teachers College in 1961 where she worked toward her doctorate and – in 1962-63 – was a graduate assistant to W. Max Wise. The Ed.D. Degree in Guidance and Student Personnel Administration was awarded to her in 1964. The title of her dissertation was “Student Personnel Work as a Career: A Study of Members of the American College Personnel Association in terms of Selected Demographic Data, Background Factors and Perceptions of the Field.” Wise, who had authored They Come for the Best of Reasons: College Students Today, served as her major adviser. His work – with its emphasis on the relationship between student and college along with the social, psychological and intellectual development that curricular and co-curricular experiences could provide for students – had a profound impact on her.

For both her master’s (1949-50) and doctorate (1961-64), she attended Teachers College partially supported by Out-of-State Scholarships awarded by the Regents of the University System of Georgia. These scholarships were set aside for citizens who – because of their race – were not permitted to attend the University of Georgia. Given this history – and her upbringing in the Deep South – she developed a special sensitivity to issues involved in the higher education of underserved populations.

A member of the ACPA Task Force of Black Members on Professional Problems during 1968-69, Pruitt was a member of Commission I, Administrative Leadership, during 1968-71. During 1969-71 and 1975, she served as a member of the Journal of College Student Personnel editorial board. Appointed to the editorial board for a second three-year term, her editorial duties were cut short two years when she became president in 1976. She was a member of the Feasibility Task Force during 1970-71, whose group studied and made recommendations regarding the possible merger of ACPA, NAWDC, and NASPA. The three associations met for a joint convention at Chicago in 1971. During ACPA’s annual Business meeting on April 6, 1971, she reported as a member of Tripartite Committee on the feasibility of merger/cooperation of the three associations.

Voted ACPA secretary for a two-year term in 1971 election, Pruitt took minutes – aided by her able graduate assistant Harold E. Cheatham – for 12 Executive Council meetings and two Business sessions: Atlantic City (April 8, 1971); St. Louis (October 1, 2, and 3); Chicago (March 25, 26, 27 and 29, 1972); and Cleveland (October 5, 6, and 7, 1972 and April 3, 4, and 5, 1973).

During the Executive Council session on March 5 in Atlanta, in her capacity as president-elect, Pruitt asked for reactions regarding several locations for the 1977 second convention site. Her motion on March 8 at the next Executive Council meeting that the convention be held in Denver during March 27-30 was approved. This meant coordinating with NAWDAC, whose annual convention was scheduled in Denver from March 30-April 2.

At the 1976 annual Business meeting in Chicago – during the national convention – she presented highlights of the Executive Council meetings and announced that ACPA would meet for second conventions in 1977 and 1978 and meet with APGA at Vegas in 1979. She presided at Executive Council meetings for new officers at Chicago during April 11 and 14. At the first meeting, the Executive Council appointed a task force to evaluate the project date and develop a comprehensive plan for Phase III before the mid-year meeting. The task force members met three times in Chicago, and they convened in Cleveland during May 13-15. Pruitt, who served as an ex officio member on the task force, predicted that Phase III would give ACPA the opportunity to impact postsecondary education in a way unparalleled in the history of student personnel work. At the April 14 Executive Council meeting, a budget of $113,620 was prepared.

The mid-year Executive Council meetings were held at Breech Academy in Overland Park near Kansas City, Kansas, during October 24-27, 1976. The group started with a goal setting session. Workshops scheduled between the information sessions and action sessions featured openness and a sensitivity session for all who attended. A budget allocation was approved to enable the Ethics Task Force to begin work on a code of ethics, and the Executive Council authorized creation of a Past Presidents’ Advisory Council. At the close of 1976, ACPA’s membership total was 9,384.

During her ACPA presidency, Pruitt’s “ACPA Presidential Communiqué” column appeared in four issues of ACPA Developments. The theme during 1976-77 was “Student Development in Evolution: Models, Clientele, Priorities.” At ACPA’s convention in Dallas with APGA, approximately 400 regular and 92 student members attended. The Sheraton Dallas was ACPA’s convention hotel. The ACPA program listed 55 time slots. Four ACPA leaders represented the association at the APGA Senate meetings. A pictorial display of ACPA past presidents represented the association at APGA’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Later that month at Denver during March 27-30, the second convention program consisted of 148 content sessions and 10 Wine, Cheese, and Dialogue presentations offered to 1,784 registrants. The Denver Hilton was convention headquarters. Representatives from a total of 157 institutions registered 300 positions to be filled by applicants. About 655 people sought positions. President Pruitt presided at Executive Council meetings on March 25, 26, and 27, the Luncheon on March 29, and the Business meeting that followed.

At the annual Luncheon, she delivered an address titled” Presidential Perspectives,” that concerned ACPA as a professional organization. Her address was published in the Journal. Also, professional service award plaque winners were the iconic Esther Lloyd-Jones and C. Gilbert Wrenn. They received a cash amount of $100 each to be donated to the campus or cause of their choice.

At the Business meeting, members were informed that the Executive Council approved the addition of Commission XVI, Learning Centers in High Education, a Standing Committee on Conventions, and a Committee on Government Relations. Pruitt summarized issues, problems, and concerns resulting from the Executive Council member pre-involvement questionnaire that related to long range (3-5 years) and immediate future (1-2 years) domains and strategies of ACPA action. Pruitt pointed out actions by the Executive Council to honor Past President Margaret Cameron who died in January 1977 and that a breakfast meeting was held with a Past Presidents’ Advisory Council that included eight past presidents. Members at the Business meeting voted to increase dues $3, the first increase since 1968. The fund balance of ACPA on June 30, 1977, the close of Anne Pruitt’s presidency, was $63,769.

The last paragraph of her Luncheon address at the 1977 ACPA national convention in Denver illustrated her continuing concern for the profession:

In my view, our future depends upon the degree to which we assign importance to our role in the quality of education and continue our proactivity in creating our future. Our strength has been constrained by what appears at times to be anti-intellectualism and by our disinclination to be assertive and political. Should we persist in these behaviors, there is the danger that the forces that have the potential for robbing higher education of its humanness will win over. To cause higher education to maintain a vision of its own end is to insist, through our own actions, that it not lose sight of the quality of educational life— not lose sight of the student. To be sure, it is to assist each student to become a better, more complete human being.

Late in 1990 Anne S. Pruitt wrote a message titled “Data, Management, and Politics: Student Affairs and Community Building,” a response to Campus Life: In Search of Community. An excerpt follows:

…Although academic vice presidents are supportive of student development, other matters are central to the administration of a college, and they come first. Before one realizes it, the welfare of students has been overlooked. In order to develop community, one must first create community between two essential facets of the institution, academic affairs and student affairs. The goals are the same, but the arenas in which they function are different. In order to build that all important sense of community we must come to the policymaking table understanding data about students with a firm knowledge of management, and with the ability to participate in the politics of the institution.

Pruitt’s work career included a year (1977-76) when she was a Fellow in Academic Administration with the American Council on Education. She chose to apply for the Fellowship because she was convinced that for community to develop within an institution of higher education, community must be created between academic affairs – which she wanted to learn more about – and student affairs. At the completion of this immersion in academic affairs, her work at CWRU ended. In 1979 she accepted a position at The Ohio State University (OSU) as Associate Dean of the Graduate School. She was also appointed to a tenured professorship and graduate faculty status in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership. At this point, she became the first African American woman full professor at The Ohio State University.

As Associate Dean, among her other duties, she was instrumental in keeping the federally funded Graduate and Professional Opportunities Program (G-POP) alive, working with the Council of Graduate Schools, the Association of Graduate Schools, and testifying before the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Committee on Education and Labor. She secured more than $900,000 in G-POP fellowships for students at OSU.

She was appointed Associate Provost, Office of Academic Affairs in 1984, and then she was named Director, Center for Teaching Excellence in 1986. The Center that she directed was an arm of the Office of Academic Affairs, designed to enhance teaching at the University. Her challenge at this point was to help to personalize teaching in a major research university. At OSU she taught a seminar on the desegregation of public higher education. In 1995 she was named Professor Emeritus of Educational Policy and Leadership.

One of Pruitt’s major involvements was her eight-year membership – ending in 1986 – on the Higher Education Program Research Task Force of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) whose primary goal was to commission research on the desegregation of public higher education. It was the Adams v. Califano desegregation case that led to the court order that identified 19 states that operated racially segregated higher education systems. As a result of this involvement, Pruitt authored two SEF publications: Black Employees in Traditionally White Institutions in the Adams States: 1975 to 1977 (published in 1981), and In Pursuit of Equality in Higher Education (published in 1987).

Prior to this time, another major consultancy was with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) in helping to highlight its interest in improving student personnel services in the South. One outcome was her 1973 SREB publication titled New Students and Coordinated Counseling. Her service for SREB involved her in efforts to assist the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to desegregate the public universities in Nashville, leading to publications on desegregation in cities in which two public higher education institutions existed. Later she served on the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) for the National Science Foundation and for six years, ending in 2002, on the Educational Testing Service Visiting Panel on Research.

In 1994 Pruitt began eight years of service at the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) in Washington, DC, first, as Dean in Residence and later as Scholar in Residence. Prior to leaving OSU, Jossey-Bass asked her to prepare for its series on New Directions for Student Services a manuscript on graduate students. She took the work with her to CGS and – with her Ohio State colleague Professor Paul Isaac – published in 1995 Student Services for the Changing Graduate Student Population.

At CGS she co-directed – with Jerry Gaff – the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program. She served as PI for grants totaling more than three million dollars to extend PFF into the preparation of future science, mathematics, humanities, and social science faculty. A collaboration between the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools, PFF was launched in 1993 to develop alternative doctoral programs for preparing graduate students to do the kind of work expected of faculty at most colleges and universities, namely, to teach and advise students; conduct and evaluate research; and perform service to the department, institution, and community. After a decade of fruitful work, more than 4,000 doctoral students had participated in PFF. The program ended in 2002. Two grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts supported creation of campus-wide PFF programs at 23 doctoral-producing universities; grants from the National Science Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies supported partnering with 11 disciplinary societies in the natural sciences, and humanities, ending in a grand total of seven million dollars. From the beginning of this project, PFF clusters were committed to addressing the under representation of persons of color among college and university faculty in their disciplines by assuring that minority students are attracted to PFF programs. PFF publications that she co-authored include Building the Faculty We Need: Colleges and Universities Working Together; Preparing Future Faculty in the Sciences and Mathematics: A Guide for Change; and Preparing Future Faculty in the Social Sciences and Humanities: A Guide for Change.

Among her honors, Anne Pruitt was recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Central State University (Wilberforce, OH) in 1982 where she had served 10 years on the Board of Trustees. Also, she served on the Board of Case Western Reserve University for 15 years ending in 2002, and gave service to numerous boards and initiatives in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, DC. In 1993 the YWCA of Columbus, Ohio named her as a Woman of Achievement. In 1995 she was featured on the cover of Black Issues in Higher Education and labeled “Godmother of Minority Graduate Education” (c.f., Dr. Anne Pruitt: Forging Access to Graduate Education, v.12 (10) July 13, 1995). Ten years later, the same publication presented her with its Legends in Higher Education Award.

At the ACPA national convention in Washington, DC in 1989, she was named a Senior Professional for the Annuit Coeptis dinner recipients. Also, she was recognized with the Senior Scholar award. This honor entitled her to a continuing opportunity to share her scholarship by presenting a program of her own choosing at each ACPA national convention through 1994, and indeed she did. In 1992 she spoke on the Senior Scholar Program on the topic “How College Affects Students: Implications for Student Affairs – Focus on Practice.” And, in 1994 her topic was “Enhancing the Educational Experience of Underrepresented Groups.” This paper was part of the program titled “Explaining the Link between Collaborative Partnership and Student Learning.” She appeared on a program with other past presidents at the 1999 annual meeting under the topic: “Utility, Role and Function of Student Affairs Associations on Today’s Practitioners.” In 1996 ACPA honored her with the citation: “Senior Scholar Diplomate,” and in 1998 she became an ACPA Educational Leadership Foundation Diamond Honoree.

In 1988 The Ohio State University chose her for it Distinguished Affirmative Action Award. In 2004 she was elected to membership in OSU’s College of Education Hall of Fame. In 2005 she received OSU’s Distinguished Service Award. Citing her as a gifted educator, an accomplished administrator and a passionate advocate for the underrepresented, she was described as a role model for those who would succeed against the odds of gaining higher education.

Her international involvement includes a workshop that she conducted in 1993 at the International Conference on Improving University Teaching in Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany titled “Stimulating Faculty Involvement in the Retention of Minority Students.” It was particularly pertinent to conferees from countries – like America – that have wrestled with emerging demands to educate minorities or so-called second class citizens. She repeated this presentation the same year in the form of a paper for the European Association of Institutional Research in Turku, Finland. Her work with Preparing Future Faculty took her to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1997 where she led a workshop with Jerry Gaff at the International Conference on Improving University Learning and Teaching. The two of them presented a similar workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2001.

Major adviser for 14 doctoral studies and several master’s theses, she has to her credit more than 60 major paper presentations. She has lectured at universities and conferences in the United States and abroad. On her publication list are more than 40 articles, reprints, and books as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Her teleconferences and videotapes include “Student Affairs: A Historical Perspective and a View of the Future” for ACPA and NASPA, produced at Oklahoma State University in 1988. In 1989 she took part in a national video conference for Governors State and the John Foundation titled “Racism on Campus: Toward an Agenda for Action.” At The Ohio State University – with Nancy Chism – she produced a videotape for the faculty titled “Teaching for Black Student Retention.”

Following the death of Anne’s husband, Ralph L. Pruitt, Sr., she married Harold G. Logan. She is the mother of one daughter, Leslie, and stepmother to Diane, Pamela, Sharon, and Ralph Pruitt, Jr., and Harold, Minda, and Andrew Logan.

In sum, as The Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award concluded,

Her innovative recruitment and retention methods and her commitment to accessibility to the best in learning opportunities, regardless of race or gender, have had a profound influence on the lives of countless faculty, support staff, and students throughout our nation.

In 2012, Anne published a book about an early dean of women, titled Faithful to the Task at Hand: The Life of Lucy Diggs Slowe. The senior author is Carroll L.L. Miller (who is deceased). It was published by SUNY Press. In 1922 Lucy Diggs Slowe was appointed the first Dean of Women at Howard University, becoming the first dean of women at any historically black institution of higher learning.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.