The University of North Georgia’s Cumming campus has a new leader as it moves into its second academic year.
Jason Pruitt, who had served as assistant director since the campus opened in summer 2012, became executive director of the site earlier this month.
Sherman Day, the former director who was president of North Georgia College & State University from 1992-96, had come out of retirement to open the campus last year. He returned to retirement with Pruitt’s ascension.
“I think he committed to a year whenever they first asked him to come down as executive director,” Pruitt said of his predecessor. “So he fulfilled his year and as much as we all wanted him to stay … now he’s gone back into retirement.”
Pruitt said he was happy to step into Day’s shoes, although they will be big ones to fill.
“I had known him when he was president of North Georgia and he was such a great person and so knowledgeable … I definitely jumped at the opportunity to get to work with him again,” he said.
“I told someone the other day that this was a year of just being a sponge and trying to soak up everything that I could, just all the knowledge and expertise and experience that he has in higher education.”
A lifelong resident of the north Georgia area, Pruitt graduated from the institution when it was North Georgia College & State University.
The school and Gainesville College merged earlier this year to form the University of North Georgia.
Pruitt received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the university.
He said ending up at the Cumming site was a bit ironic since he completed his student teaching in the early 1990s here.
“It’s funny how things work out,” he said. “I did my student teaching at Forsyth Central High School and 20 years later, it’s full circle and I’m back down here in Forsyth County.”
Pruitt, who lives in Hall County near the Forsyth line with his wife, Kristen, and their five children, has spent his entire professional career working at the institution, first at its Dahlonega campus before the opening of the Cumming site.
Pruitt said he “did a lot of things” at the Dahlonega campus, among them recruiting for the admissions office, serving as the university’s registrar and working with finances of the athletic department.
“It’s a great place to be,” he said of the university. “I love being here and I’m really excited about the opportunities here in Cumming and Forsyth County.”
He said he’s happy to continue the strong partnership with the local community that Day built.
“That’s sort of our role here … to try to help the students, but also we’re here for the businesses and the members of the community to do whatever we can to help them better themselves and be successful in whatever they want to do,” he said.
“Hopefully, we can continue to stay in touch with businesses and students, schools and the board of education and all those folks and just continue to add things that there’s a demand for, that there’s a need for and that will help this community to grow and be better.”