By Kathleen Kraemer
ESU President Dr. Marcia G. Welsh named Dr. Peter Pruim of the Philosophy Department the first ESyou honoree of spring 2016.
Welsh initiated the ESyou campaign at the onset of the fall 2013 semester in order to recognize ESU’s outstanding staff and faculty.
Every month Welsh names a new honoree in order to showcase the employees and give the students and campus community the opportunity to get to know them.
Growing up, Pruim had diverse interests and aspirations. He was going to be an astronaut…unless he could be a symphony conductor.
Though he did not break into either of those fields, Pruim received his Bachelor of Arts at Hope College in Michigan.
He then went on to receive his master’s and doctorate of philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison).
“Being employed as a philosopher was a pretty neat trick,” exclaimed Pruim.
“I taught at the UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, Virginia Tech, Truman State, and the College of New Jersey before coming to ESU in 1997,” he said.
Nearly 20 years later, Pruim continues to teach and have a significant impact on the students of ESU.
Pruim teaches a wide array of philosophy classes as well as language courses in Latin.
His favorite course to teach is philosophy of mind.
“It concerns the relationship of the mental and physical,” he explained.
“We understand so much about nature and the physical world, except how mere connections of neurons result in the colors and sounds and thoughts and feelings that make up conscious experience. The last deep mystery remains the nature of the soul.”
His affinity for Cicero and Socrates and his deep knowledge of everything Greek adds to the scope of all of his classes.
In addition to teaching, Pruim is also the Chair of the One Book, One Campus Selection Committee.
He assists in selecting the book that will unite and engage the ESU community every fall semester.
“The One Book program aims to make reading and thinking and deep conversation a part of one’s life, rather than just something to do for a class,” explained Pruim.
Pruim’s commitment to student involvement does not stop there. He is the codirector of the Honors Program alongside Dr. Paul Creamer of the Modern Languages Department.
The Honors Program is dedicated to helping students get the most out of their college experiences.
Pruim and Creamer encourage students to go experience everything ESU has to offer and to get involved in activities on and off campus.
“What I love about [the] Honors [Program] is being around so many students who want to be challenged intellectually and to send them into their other classes to serve as ambassadors for the Liberal Arts and the life of the human mind,” said Pruim.
Pruim advises students to make the most of their time in at ESU.
“You are paying to have four years of QUALITY TIME. We have so many distractors and interrupters that can easily take over. Rather than twitter and browse, talk to a person or read a book.”
“What you focus on in large part determines the character of your life.”
Pruim stresses the importance of wide experiences, getting to know staff and faculty, and developing an appreciation for your time at college.
“We all benefit from role models and support groups—that is why these are so central in religious practices. Religion and higher education have in common the big questions of how we should live, personally and together. Thought of that way, college can add so much to preparation for lives and careers.”
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