No professor had a more lasting impact on future Chicago attorney and Big Ten football official Dan Capron ('78) than John Pruett.
"I had Professor Pruett for three history courses during my tenure at the U of I — an introductory survey course in early American history, a 300-level course on the American Revolution and a graduate-level course on slavery in colonial America," Capron says.
“Professor Pruett was a native of Tidewater, Virginia and he spoke with a refined Southern lilt. In addition to being a superb teacher who could speak in complete paragraphs without notes, he would sometimes employ an unusual device to better elucidate his subject matter.
“The best example of this took place during the course on the American Revolution. It was the spring semester, 1976. America was inundated with bicentennial fever in anticipation of our nation’s 200th birthday.
"Professor Pruett, perhaps in reaction to over-the-top plans for the event, taught the class all the words to ‘God Save the Queen.’ He even sung along with us, to the tune of ‘My Country, 'Tis of Thee.’”