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Virginia and Charles Prewitt Honored for Peace Efforts

Written by Dwight Bachman

prewitt and Nunez.jpg

Eastern President Elsa M. Nunez congratulates Charles Prewitt, professor emeritus at Eastern, after the University opened and dedicated the new Virginia and Charles Prewitt Office of Peace and Human Rights, located in Room 110 of Goddard Hall.

On Sept. 7, Eastern opened and dedicated the new Virginia and Charles Prewitt Office of Peace and Human Rights, located in Room 110 of Goddard Hall. Charles Prewitt, professor emeritus at Eastern, has donated more than $90,000 to the Eastern Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc. in honor of his late beloved wife, Virginia to support the operations of the Peace and Human Rights Office and to provide additional scholarship support to students interested in the cause of peace and human rights. 

In 2002, Prewitt and his wife had established the Virginia and Charles Prewitt Peace and Human Rights Studies Endowment to support students who are active in the community and demonstrate an interest in peace and human rights. Prewitt began teaching the sciences at Eastern in 1952 until he retired in 1979. He continues to teach peace and human rights courses part time, bringing state and national dignitaries to campus to explore how to pursue world peace and basic human rights for all human beings.

Prewitt and his wife, Virginia, worked with Philosophy Professor Hope Fitz and others to establish the Peace and Human Rights minor on campus.  In October 2004, Eastern presented the Prewitts the "Herman Beckert Friends of the University Award" for their contributions to Eastern and the cause of peace.

"It is wonderful to see us dedicating this office in honor of Virginia and your own legacy," Eastern President Elsa Nunez told Prewitt. "I have enjoyed presenting each year in your classes. I have observed with pleasure how you stay connected with your students; that is how you stay young!

"We thank Dr. Prewitt for his commitment to peace and the rights of all human beings, and we are delighted to be able to dedicate this room in honor of him and in memory of his wife, Virginia."

In thanking Núñez for the new office, Prewitt said, "I am happy that our students will be able to benefit. We have a Peace and Human Rights minor, and I am looking forward someday to a major." Prewitt's peace and human rights story began more than 70 years ago when he and his wife were hired to work as chemists for DuPont. Eventually FBI agents told them that they were  part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb. The Prewitts did not want to be part of creating a weapon of mass destruction and opted out of the project.  Later, in the 1960s, Prewitt left Eastern for a period of time to travel with his wife to Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where he taught science teachers and spread their message of peace and understanding among people. 

Prewitt eventually returned to Eastern to continue teaching, and today he and his wife's legacy of peace remain vibrant and alive.  It is fitting that a quote attributed to Prewitt is on the door of the Peace and Human Rights Office:  "If you don't have a dream, how can your dream come true?"

 

December 2011

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