News and Views

Bequest Creates Largest College of Education and Human Development Scholarship Endowment

Two gifts totaling more than $855,000 from the late Peter Dewitt Pruden, Jr. and his wife, Phyllis Stancill Pruden, make up the College of Education and Human Development’s largest scholarship endowment. Through a bequest of Peter Pruden, the RU Foundation recently received a $655,000 gift, which will be added to the scholarship endowment that the Prudens established with a gift of more than $200,000 in 2002. The endowment provides scholarships for students pursuing a degree and teaching licensure in elementary education.

Phyllis and Peter PrudenPeter Pruden, a native and lifelong resident of Suffolk, retired from his family’s business, Pruden Packing Company, a curer and packer of country hams established by his father in 1917. After his retirement Pruden and his wife, Phyllis, created a living trust. Together, they chose 18 colleges, universities and medical institutions to which they made charitable gifts, as well as to their churches. Pruden died in April 2005. Through his bequests the couple completed the work they had started.

“Peter and I felt it was important to share with those who are less fortunate, especially students,” said Phyllis Pruden. “The Radford University scholarship is intended to help academically talented students who want to become teachers.”

For Phyllis Pruden, providing for future teachers is a reflection of her commitment to high-quality education for children. A graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, her career was teaching. Giving to Radford University is a reflection of her fondness for the university and the Radford community. She and her first husband, the late Godfrey Stancill, raised their five children in Radford. Stancill was the publisher of the Radford News Journal for 14 years, and he was a member of the RU Board of Visitors during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Generations of future teachers at RU and generations of their future students will benefit from the generosity of Peter and Phyllis Pruden. “Peter and I received great satisfaction by helping those who would not otherwise be able to go to college,” said Mrs. Pruden. She has continued the philanthropic efforts that she and her husband began. “I get a lot of pleasure carrying it out the way Peter would have wanted it,” she said.

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