Dusty Prentiss ’71 says he had a mind-expanding experience at Franklin & Marshall College. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” he remembers. “I had new experiences, which led to new thoughts. I got a well-rounded education, and because of that I have a good feeling about the universe.”
Prentiss, raised in Levittown, Pa., enrolled at F&M expecting it to be a necessary stop on the way to medical school. “I always wanted to be a doctor, and my guidance counselor said F&M was one of the best colleges for getting into med school.”
But once he arrived on campus, Prentiss found psychology. One of his professors, Dr. Senn, asked for a student to keep statistics on a computer (very new technology in the late 1960s), and Prentiss volunteered. Combining psychology, computers and math at F&M prepared him for grad school—also recommended by an F&M professor— in an interdisciplinary program in the emerging field of “information science.” It was the beginning of his lifelong career in the computer industry.
“I would’ve worked harder to be a doctor, but the psychology and the computer stuff was just more interesting,” he says with a laugh.
Prentiss remembers many more things about his four years at F&M, including a summer spent researching the difference between short and long-term memory, painting and cleaning up the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, and meeting and marrying his wife, Marsha (they were married in Nevin Chapel and held their reception at the president’s house).
“I’m very grateful for all the experiences I had, especially that F&M pointed me on the path to a wonderful career,” he says. “But I only realized how much F&M had actually done for me after I got out into the world.”
Prentiss worked as a programmer before moving into the analytical and design fields, and then into sales engineering—demonstrating and selling software products. He and his wife have retired to the top of a mountain in the northern California wine country.
“When you combine meeting my wife, my fraternity experience, and an education that helped me learn how
life works and how to get along in this life... how could I not want other students to be able to experience that kind of awakening?” Prentiss asks. Because of the liberal arts experience he cherishes, he and Marsha have arranged to support scholarship at F&M; a portion of their estate will go to the Brookshire Research Fellowship Fund.
“I want other students to have their minds opened, so they can learn all that the universe (the metaphysical) and the world (the practical) have to offer,” he says. “Because my F&M experience started me out on the right track, I am in a position to give back and support the work of the College.”
To learn how to craft your own legacy gift to F&M, contact Mary Ann M. Cooke, J.D., ’90, Director of Gift Planning, at 717-358-4821 or email@example.com.