Dennis Pruitt, USC's vice president for Student Affairs, captured another national honor for his long career in student affairs.
He was given the 2011 Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Service as a Dean by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The organization, once called the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and still abbreviated NASPA, gives the award to an institution's lead student affairs officer who has demonstrated sustained professional service in student affair work.
Pruitt cited University 101, the Student Success Center, the Wellness Center and the First-Year Reading Experience as examples of the noteworthy programs that have made Carolina a "role model for being student centered." He also applauded students for being responsive to the University's approach.
"This is really an institutional award," Pruitt said. "We're always on the cusp of the next big thing in higher education."
Pruitt was also chosen for the award by NASPA's board of directors and will be officially presented the award at a March 15 awards luncheon.
NASPA has honored Pruitt in the past with the Outstanding Pillars of the Profession award and the Bob E. Leach Award for Dedicated and Outstanding Service to Students, according to the Office of the Provost's website. This year, USC's Division of Student Affairs and Academic
Support also won three awards, two of which for University 101's instructor-development initiative.
"Dennis has served the University of South Carolina for over 30 years, and in doing that he has built a wonderful organization in student affairs that I think nurtures provides opportunities and makes sure that no students ever, ever, ever fall through the cracks," said Associate Vice
President for Student Affairs Jerry Brewer. "He does that in a manner that you feel good about your job, you feel good about working for him, you feel good about working hard and you feel good about what the University of South Carolina is doing and how successful the students are. We're just thrilled that he got the recognition."
Pruitt maintains the award is not just for him, but the entire university, citing "student-centeredness" as the key to USC's success.
"The board of trustees and the administration over the past 30 years have always been dedicated to the improvement of the University of South Carolina," Pruitt said. "They've enabled the University to hire a very talented group of professionals who have developed a series of outstanding and noteworthy programs that have gained national recognition."