Pause for applause
End of an era
After serving as president of Thomas Edison State University for 35 years, George Pruitt ’68, M.S. ’70, LH.D. ’94, will retire from the office this year. He is one of the longest-sitting collegiate presidents in the country. Pruitt became a national higher education leader at Towson, which serves only adult students. He helped make degree completion feasible for working adults and active military service members. Pruitt served five Secretaries of Education under three presidents. He is remembered on ISU’s campus for his leadership as the first president of the Black Student Association and foundational work on ISUs’ High Potential Student Program.
Laurie Metcalf ’76 added another honor to her acting resume this year by capturing a Tony Award for best Broadway performance as a leading actress in a play. She was cast as Nora in A Doll’s House, Part 2. It was the fourth Tony nomination for Metcalf, a theatre and dance graduate known for her role as Jackie in Roseanne. Metcalf helped create Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and has fond ISU memories. “I don’t know if ISU helped me become what I am,” she said, “but I know that if I hadn’t gone there, I wouldn’t be what I am today.”
Born in Chicago to parents of Senegalese and Gambian descent, Binta Diallo ’14 embraces both her American and African roots. She uses her time and talents to help others, from working as a volunteer with humanitarian organizations to supporting anti-bullying campaigns and creating Internal Archives. The online platform empowers millennials of color to celebrate their cultural identities. Diallo’s messages of motivation encourage everyone to stay true to themselves and keep moving forward. “Life will be filled with updates and revisions,” she writes. “No great story was published after the first draft. Respect your story and your struggles.”
Theatre major Jonathan Browning ’93 has captured the spotlight by appearing in dozens of national commercials, from pitching Progressive with Flo to promoting Home Depot. He has appeared on award-winning television shows, including How I Met Your Mother and The Office. Browning writes one-act plays presented in Los Angeles, and also teaches improvisation at Second City Hollywood and American Musical and Dramatic Academy. His greatest acclaim comes as a writer and director of short films created through his company, Screaming Frog Productions. Browning’s comedic short films have been screened in more than 400 international film festivals and have captured 28 international awards.