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Summer 2007

Peter and Phyllis Pruden: Giving for the Future


"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."

These words by English author Albert Pine define the spirit of giving demonstrated by Phyllis Stancill Pruden and the late Peter DeWitt Pruden Jr. who have contributed more than $825,000 to Longwood.

In 2002, Longwood was one of 18 colleges and universities that received $200,000 from the Prudens. Their gift created the Peter DeWitt Pruden and Phyllis Stancill Pruden Honors Scholarship. Following Peter’s death in April 2005, the Pruden scholarship received more than $625,000 through a trust distribution. The scholarship, part of the Citizen Scholars Program, enables Longwood to attract the best and brightest students based on academics, character, and demonstrated financial need. These students undergo a rigorous combination of academic and community service requirements to ensure that they make a difference not only on the Longwood campus, but also in the world.

"We are committed to philanthropy and the support of public education," said Phyllis. In addition to donating to colleges and universities, the Prudens have made significant contributions to the Duke University Medical Center, the Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, and their churches. "These things will touch so many people," she said.

"The wonderful gift from the late Mr. Pruden and his wife, Phyllis, is truly monumental and will touch the lives of generations of Longwood University students yet to come," said H. Franklin Grant, director of planned and major gifts. "Their beneficence to so many institutions will surely inspire and motivate other philanthropists."

The late Peter Dewitt Pruden Jr., a native and lifelong resident of Suffolk, was the owner of Pruden Packing Company, which was later sold to Smithfield Foods. Phyllis taught elementary school in the Suffolk Public Schools system for 23 years. Three of her five children are educators and two are journalists. Phyllis’ daughter, Diane Stancill Hall, ’67, attended Longwood before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phyllis’ alma mater.

As a result of the Peter and Phyllis Pruden Honors Scholarship, generations of future teachers and students of all disciplines at Longwood will reap the benefits of their generosity. "Peter and I felt it was important to share with those who are less fortunate, especially students," said Phyllis.