Family honors late WVU Davis College alumnus by creating endowed scholarship

When West Virginia University alumnus Emery L. Prunty passed away in January 2016, the West Virginia agricultural community lost an invaluable educator and advocate.

To honor him, his wife Sharon recently endowed the Emery L. “Bud” Prunty Memorial Scholarship to support students in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design who are majoring in animal and nutritional sciences. First preference will be given to students who are West Virginia residents.

Having grown up on a beef cattle farm, the Ritchie County native saw first-hand the importance of agriculture to his family and state.

Surrounded by educators who helped instill a love of learning, Prunty was a fourth generation educator on his mother’s side of the family and a third generation on his father’s side.

The blood in his family runs gold and blue as he was also a second generation Mountaineer. His son, Thomas, also graduated from WVU and the Davis College, and his granddaughter, Mary, will graduate in May 2017 with a degree in English.

“He loved to learn. He loved going to school and he loved WVU,” said Sharon Prunty, his wife of 57 years. “Education was very important to him and establishing this scholarship is a way of helping someone else and honoring him.”

After graduating from Pennsboro High School in 1951, Prunty moved to Morgantown to study animal science at WVU; he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1955. From there he spent one year teaching vocational agriculture in his home county, and then went on to serve two years in the United States Army.

In 1959, Emery Prunty began a 32-year career with WVU Extension Service as an agent in Pocahontas County. He transferred to Mineral County in 1962 and to Grant County in 1966 where he served out his tenure. While working, he continued his education at WVU and earned his master’s degree in extension education in 1966.

“He loved working with farmers and was a hands-on type of person,” Sharon Prunty said.

With a passion for cattle, Emery Prunty spent 21 years as a member of the West Virginia Performance Tested Bull Sale Committee. Although he was a humble person who didn’t want a lot of attention, Prunty was extremely well-known in the cattle industry.

“We once went on a cattleman’s tour out west and I was shocked at the number of people who greeted him with ‘Hey, Bud!’,” she said.

In addition to his love of agriculture and education, Prunty was committed to giving back.

“He believed that we were put here on this Earth to help each other,” Sharon Prunty explained. “We followed the Bible and Jesus said to take care of the poor and to share what you have. I learned over the years you can’t out-give God, and the more you give the more you receive.”

This gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.

March 1, 2017