WSCC Foundation establishing teaching endowment to honor longtime educator

An endowed scholarship honoring Ina “Cookie” Pratt has been established with the Walters State Foundation. The endowment was made possible by a gift from her son and daughter-in-law, Rob and Dr. Eustacia Pratt.

“This scholarship will remove barriers for future teachers following in Mrs. Pratt’s path,” Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State, said. “The Pratt family has been part of the Walters State family for many years. While we are saddened at the loss of Mrs. Pratt, we know she would be pleased to be remembered this way.”

Pratt was a school teacher for 28 years and the scholarship will assist education majors.

“Mom was an educator and understood the value of education and the opportunities a scholarship would create,” said Rob Pratt, interim dean of Humanities and assistant professor of speech at Walters State. “She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She was able to attend ETSU due to a vocational rehabilitation grant given to her as a survivor of rheumatic fever. Mom had also seen how Walters State had impacted my life as a student, a staff member and a faculty member.”

Mrs. Pratt taught for 20 years at West Elementary School in Morristown, beginning in 1966, the first year of school desegregation. She later taught at Whitesburg Elementary and Lincoln Heights before retiring after 28 years.

She was diagnosed with Lupus and associated autoimmune disorders prior to her retirement. She fought the disease for most of her life, continuing to be very supportive of others.

“Mom eventually had to retire, but she continued to fight,” Pratt said. She loved teaching and she wanted to continue. There is no better honor for her than to remove some of the financial barriers future teachers face.”

This is the second endowment connected to the Pratt family. Mrs. Pratt and her family established the first to honor her husband of 49 years, Robert Pratt following his death in 2018. Pratt was one of the most faithful supporters of Senators basketball, missing only two games in 42 years.

Both are endowed scholarships. Awards will be funded through interest earned on the original endowments, allowing them to continue into the future. Both endowments are open for donations. For information, contact Chris Cates, assistant vice president for college advancement, at 423-585-6952 or Chris.Cates@ws.edu.