$3.4 Million Gift Endows Management Chair at UAF
A $3.4 million gift from the estate of alumnus James Pruitt has created an endowed chair at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management.
Pruitt, a 1973 graduate of the school, died in 2018. His bequest is one of the largest private donations in UAF’s history.
“Mr. Pruitt’s gift to UAF is incredibly humbling and will change lives far into the future,” said UAF Chancellor Dan White.
Accounting instructor Amy Cooper has received the first appointment to the James Pruitt Endowed Chair of Management. Cooper has won several teaching awards and has twice received the 40 Under 40 Award from CPA Practice Advisor. The award is one of the highest national recognitions for certified public accountants.
Pruitt received a Bachelor of Business Administration from UAF as a student from Washington in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program. He started working for Amoco about six months after graduation and retired after a long career with BP, which acquired Amoco in 1998. He was 68 years old when he died.
Pruitt had a passion for supporting hard-working, nontraditional students. He started the School of Management Green Island Scholarship. It annually gave two freshmen $7,000 each for four years or until graduation, whichever came first.
Pruitt wanted scholarship recipients to show financial need and a strong work ethic. He asked to receive updates from these students twice a year. Pruitt also had recently been helping buy business attire for School of Management students who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
In addition to the endowed chair, more than $330,000 of Pruitt’s estate will go to the UAF Alumni Association. The association plans to fund projects that directly support students, to honor Pruitt’s interest in giving young people a hand up rather than a hand out.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.