Greater Trenton’s Fourth Annual Caren Franzini Capital City Award celebration, which takes place on December 6, 2021 (5 p.m.) at Cooper’s Riverview (50 Riverview Plaza in Trenton, NJ), will gather leaders from across the region to present the Caren Franzini Capital City Award to Drs. George and Pamela Pruitt. The event will include an evening of cocktails and conversations to reflect on opportunities in Trenton and make connections with some of the most influential leaders impacting New Jersey’s Capital City. Pandemic restrictions may apply. To register, visit: www.greatertrenton.org/CapitalCityAward.

This year’s celebration, made possible by Presenting Sponsors Bristol Myers Squibb and NJM Insurance Group, is being supported by a number of sponsors to date including Building Sponsors PNC Bank, Thomas Edison State University, Kean University, Comcast, Janssen, Bernie & Ann Flynn, Investors Bank, Princeton University, and Capital Health; Sustaining Sponsors RUE Insurance, Rider University, Kevin Cummings, AT&T, The College of New Jersey, and Columbia Bank, and George & Lisa Sowa; and Supporting Sponsors Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber, Mercer County Community College, Anderson & Company, Kaufman Zita Group, The Ross Dulan Group, and PSEG.

Dr. George Pruitt, president emeritus of Thomas Edison State University, was instrumental in the conception and formation of Greater Trenton and served with great distinction as President of the founding entity known as Capital City Partnership and as a founding member of Greater Trenton’s Board of Directors. Known for his tremendous leadership in higher education and key role in the revitalization of Downtown Trenton, Dr. George Pruitt led Thomas Edison State University’s effort to restore and construct several historic and new buildings in Trenton’s downtown, preserving the essence of the city’s stately past while stimulating economic development. In addition to his redevelopment efforts, Dr. Pruitt was a driving force in strengthening public policy through the establishment of The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy. He has given selflessly of himself, serving as a committed champion of the community to provide alternative access to higher education and to promote economic growth in Downtown Trenton. He has also been active in formulation of educational policy across the country and is the among the longest-serving public university presidents in the nation.

Dr. Pamela Pruitt, who serves as Executive Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Rider University, leads important work to support underrepresented, marginalized, and under-resourced students and foster a better multicultural understanding and appreciation of a diverse student population. She is a Grammy Award winning songwriter having written hit songs for artists like Ne-Yo, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and the Supremes. With an extensive and diverse background in media and marketing, Dr. Pamela Pruitt held significant positions at Motown Records/Jobete (Jo-bet) Music Company, CBS Television, Warner Bros. Records, Delta Air Lines, ABC Radio Networks, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, to name a few. Dr. Pamela Pruitt has dedicated her passion and creative talents to serving Trenton as Board Director for the Capital Area YMCA and the Trenton Health Team as well as Chair for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She also served as Board Chair and Director Emeritus of the Trenton Public Education Foundation and as part of the Advisory Board for Rider University’s Equal Opportunity Program.

Drs. George and Pamela Pruitt will be honored for their passion and commitment to education, not only through their tremendous leadership work at Thomas Edison State University and Rider University, respectively, where they have taken great strides to achieve climates of diversity, equity, inclusion, and economic development progress, but also through their tireless efforts in pioneering and leading successful initiatives that continue to have positive impacts on Trenton.

Past honorees of Greater Trenton’s Caren Franizini Capital City Award have included Anthony “Skip” Cimino, an instrumental leader in the conception and formation of Greater Trenton and serves as Executive Director of the NJ General Assembly Office; Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, a long-time public servant and advocate for New Jersey families who was elected in 2018 to her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives; and Anthony R. Coscia, Esq., a close friend and mentor of the late Caren Franzini and partner at Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP.

The event committee includes a diverse group of community leaders chaired by Letícia Ferri, Executive Director, Medical Cardiovascular Business Development Strategy Early Assets and Cross-TA at Bristol Myers Squibb and Mike Van Wagner, Vice President of Public Affairs for NJM Insurance Group including John Goedecke, US Bank; Bryan Evans, Greater Trenton; Nancy Faherty, Cashel Faherty Public Relations; Bernie Flynn, Mercer Street Friends; Reggie Hallett, 1911 SmokeHouse; Duncan Harrison, Princeton University; Pat Hartpence, NJM Insurance Group; Karen Klim, Rider University; Jeannine Frisby LaRue, Kaufman Zita Group; Shirley Michael, Greater Trenton; Aquatia Owens, PNC Wealth Advisors; Brenda Ross-Dulan, The Ross Dulan Group; George Sowa, Greater Trenton; and Andy Zalescik, Northfield Bank.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will be allocated to scholarships and internships for Trenton’s youth. Registration for Greater Trenton’s Caren Franzini Capital City Award Celebration can be found here: www.greatertrenton.org/CapitalCityAward.