“I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but when I graduated from high school my dad left his job at the gas company and began a career as an administrator in a series of small Christian private schools. This allowed me to move around a bit,” Prust said. “After earning my BA in elementary education, I actually taught at one of his schools in Baldwin County and then later at a school in Valley, Alabama, which brought me to this area.”
Prust said after a few years of teaching she just “wanted something different” and applied at Auburn University. She began her career managing the office in the East Alabama Regional Inservice Center (EARIC) for five years before moving into a similar role in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching where she has been a front office fixture since 1995.
“When I started there our department head was Dr. Andrew Weaver, a true legend in the history of our college,” Prust recalled. “At first I was a bit intimidated by his no-nonsense manner, but when my father died he came to the funeral and gave me a big hug and let me know he had my back. I have loved my job ever since. I have worked with and under several fine people including Nancy Barry, David Virtue, and my good friend Dr. Terry Ley. He and I stayed in touch even after he retired. Most recently I have worked with Dr. Marilyn Strutchens whom I have also known and liked for a very long time.”
Strutchens, who serves as interim department head of C&T, had a word of appreciation for Prust’s good work, as well.
“Miss Prust served the Department of Curriculum and Teaching well during her 30 years at Auburn University. She took pride in her work and wanted to serve everyone to the best of her abilities. We wish Miss Prust well as she moves to a more leisurely phase of her life and hope that she will look back on Auburn with fond memories of the department as well as football. War Eagle Miss Prust!”
Prust, who lives in nearby Notasulga, has a large family. Her retirement plans involve spending time with them in their various locations.
“I have family from Florida to Wisconsin,” she said. “I have two sisters in Ft. Walton and nieces and nephews all around so that will be a lot of fun.”
And the family is close. At one time, Prust was joined in her home by both her mother and grandmother. When one of her nephews enrolled at Auburn he moved in with them, as well.
“It was just like the old days when large families lived together in multiple generations. It was kind of tight but we made it work and had a lot of fun. My grandmother was especially great. She lived to be 100 years old.”
Prust has been recognized many time for her good work through the years, taking lead roles in the college’s United Way drives and winning the college’s Commitment to Diversity award.
“I am also glad I was able to meet Dean Fairbrother at the end of my career. He came to my office last week and gave me a nice retirement plaque. That meant a lot.”
Although she knows she will miss the college and its people, Prust said the time was right.
“The best thing about my career here was always the people,” she said. “From the students, to the faculty, and my fellow staff members, just meeting and getting to know them has been rewarding. This is a fine group of people. What we do—teacher preparation—is important in our society. I truly enjoy seeing our students go out into the world and make a difference in the lives of others. I am glad I was able to be a part of that.”
Congratulations Elaine, and happy travels.