Author Profile

George A. Pruitt | President Emeritus, Thomas Edison State University

Current Position and Past Experience
Dr. George A. Pruitt, president emeritus of Thomas Edison State University, and board-distinguished fellow of the John S. Watson School of Public Service at the University, is active in the formulation of educational policy nationally and within the State of New Jersey.

During his tenure, Dr. Pruitt led the institution’s evolution into a comprehensive university with diverse academic programs to serve a wide range of students and organizations. Under his leadership, Thomas Edison State University: became an early adopter of online learning as one of the first schools in the country to offer online courses and degree programs; inaugurated what became one of New Jersey’s largest nursing degree programs; established the National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning to teach educators throughout the world best practices in the assessment of prior and experiential learning; and, achieved university status.

Having served as the University’s president for over thirty-five years from 1982 through March 2018, he is among the longest-serving public university presidents in the nation. Prior to his tenure at Thomas Edison State University, he served in executive leadership positions at Illinois State University, Towson State University, Morgan State University, Tennessee State University, and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Dr. Pruitt has served five secretaries of education under three presidents of both parties during his tenure as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on the recognition of accrediting agencies. He is the recipient of five honorary degrees, in addition to numerous awards, honors and commendations, and has consulted widely within the higher education community, as well as in business and government.

He currently serves as member and past chairman of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, member and past chairman of the board of directors of SEEDCO (Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation), and member of the board of directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Dr. Pruitt is past member and chairman of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council and of the board of directors of the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce and Capital City Partnership. He is the former chairman of the board of trustees for the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning; former vice chair, National Commission on Higher Education Attainment; and past member and chairman, board of trustees of The Union Institute & University.

He is a former director of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, Choose New Jersey, Inc., Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Greater Trenton, Inc., New Jersey State Planning Commission, Mercer Medical Center, Millennium Leadership Initiative, Sun National Bank, The Trenton Savings Bank, Rider University, and former advisor, Kellogg National Fellowship Program, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Education, Honors and Achievements
Dr. Pruitt holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education–Administration from The Graduate School at The Union Institute. He holds an M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Illinois State University and a B.S. in Biology from Illinois State University.

Dr. Pruitt holds a number of honorary degrees, including a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Rider University, a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Union Institute and University, a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Empire State College, a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Illinois State University, and a Doctorate of Public Service from Bridgewater State College (Massachusetts).

In 2017, Dr. Pruitt was honored by Thomas Edison State University by having a building named after him: George A. Pruitt Hall. In 2017, he received the Resolution of Appreciation from New Jersey Presidents’ Council and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey Black Issues Convention. In 2016, he was named New Jersey Resident of the Year by the American Institute of Architects. In 2015, he received the New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award for Thomas Edison State University, and in 2014 received a Distinguished Public Service Award from the New Jersey League of Municipalities. He was inducted into the Illinois State University Hall of Fame in 2005. In 1999, he was named one of New Jersey’s Top 20 African American Business People by NJBiz/Business News New Jersey, and was named Citizen of the Year by the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce in 1997. In 1996, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Illinois State University, and was inducted into the College Education Hall of Fame at Illinois State University in 1995. He was named Educator of the Year by Black New Jersey Magazine in 1993, and received a Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1992. He received the Good Guy Award, George Washington Council from the Boy Scouts of America in 1991, and was named One of the Most Effective College Presidents in the United States by Exxon Education Foundation Study in 1986. In 1984, he received the Alumni Achievement Award from Illinois State University, and received a Gubernatorial Citation for Outstanding Service to the State of Tennessee by the Honorable Lamar Alexander, Governor, in 1981. He received the Outstanding Service to Education Award from Tennessee State University in 1981, and was appointed an Honorary Member of the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of Tennessee by the Honorable Ned C. McWherter, Speaker of the House, in the same year.

Personal Details and Community Involvement
He has an adult daughter, Shayla and grandson, Landon. He and his wife, Pamela, reside in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. In his free time, Dr. Pruitt enjoys boating and spending time with his family.