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Harvie M. Pruitt, memorial

Former Lubbock Christian University president Dr. Harvie Pruitt passed away Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. He was 84 years old.

Current president L. Timothy Perrin, who was a student during Pruitt’s tenure as president, stated, “The Lubbock Christian University community mourns the loss of Dr. Harvie Pruitt. He was truly one of LCU’s giants, serving in leadership roles at the university for more than three decades.”

Dr. Pruitt stepped into the presidency in 1976, following predecessors Dr. F.W. Mattox and Dr. W. Joe Hacker. Pruitt actively pursued the spiritual mission on which then-Lubbock Christian College was founded.

Dr. Pruitt stated during his presidency, “The one reason we’re here is to exert a positive spiritual influence in the lives of young people.”

Pruitt played a significant role in the Lubbock community and the development of LCU. He answered a call to missions in Germany following World War II then participated actively in numerous Churches of Christ as a minister and member. In May of 1957, Pruitt attended the groundbreaking for LCC, even before he became employed by the university.

Pruitt joined the LCC faculty as a professor of Education in 1966 and was named Teacher of the Year in 1971. He served as chairman of the Faculty Senate and transitioned into the role of academic dean before assuming the presidency.

Dr. Steven Lemley worked as dean during Pruitt’s presidency before becoming the president himself when Pruitt resigned. “The man that I observed up close — though I had known him over the years — was a creative and very courageous man. As a leader, he had a very cheerful, optimistic way of relating to those who worked at the institution,” Lemley said.

Dr. Don Williams, who served as assistant to the president for Pruitt, fondly recalled his penchant for pranks and humor. Once during the self-study for institutional accreditation, Pruitt donned a wig, goatee and fake teeth to pose as an accreditation official. Williams introduced him as Dr. Grunewald to the faculty throughout the day and Pruitt did not reveal his identity until the dinner that evening. They had the whole campus fooled. Pruitt was also a skilled twirler, which he displayed with fire batons occasionally in chapel and at halftime of basketball games.

In addition to a sense of humor, Pruitt displayed intelligence and determination in his leadership of LCU. Pruitt’s presidency fell during challenging economic times for the university. Despite the hardships, he worked diligently to grow the university. Pruitt acquired a research grant for effluent water irrigation that benefited both the university and the community and paved the way for financial security for the university.

“Dr. Pruitt navigated us through (difficult) times,” said Dr. Ken Jones, fifth president of LCU. “Today, we can indeed credit our wonderful existence, credibility and bright future to the leadership of Dr. Harvie Pruitt.”

Pruitt stepped down from the presidency in 1982. Afterward, he assumed the role of president of the LCC Endowment Foundation and the LCC Investment Corporation in an effort to help secure the university’s financial position. He remained actively involved with LCU, serving on the Board of Trustees from 1985 to 2010.

His family has also been integral to the LCU community. Pruitt’s three children — Bryan (’82), Bart (’85), and Brenda (’88) — attended LCU, and several of his grandchildren are attending currently. Bart now serves as LCU general counsel, while Pruitt’s son-in-law, Scott Flow, served many years on the Board of Trustees.

“Harvie was a man of many talents, a person of deep faith, and the source of great wisdom,” said President Perrin. “We grieve his passing, while also celebrating his life of service and faithfulness. Our prayers are with the Pruitt family and with all those who knew and loved him.”

Filed under: Features Obituaries

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