Olga Veleria Pruitt was born November 2, 1884, in Anderson County, the first daughter of eleven children. When Ms. Pruitt was 12, the family moved into the city of Anderson for more educational opportunities. She graduated from West Market Street School.
Ms. Pruitt attended Winthrop College. During her years of study there, she pursued pre-med, a determination reinforced by the fact that Winthrop had a resident female physician. After three years, Ms. Pruitt entered Women’s Medical College of Baltimore. Upon graduation, Pruitt completed her postgraduate work at Johns Hopkins hospital.
At this time, Dr. Pruitt returned home and stood for the South Carolina state board of examination, the only female of 108 applicants. Dr. Harrison Pruitt, her brother, graduated from medical school the same year and they established their practice in Anderson in 1911.
Dr. Pruitt had a long and influential connection with Anderson College. She taught hygiene and physiology for many years and was the college physician for forty-four years. During the 1918 influenza epidemic, Dr. Pruitt and volunteer students nursed most of the faculty and student body. Dr. Pruitt considered the duration of the epidemic her hardest period of practice. She eventually became sick herself. Dr. Pruitt was proud that Anderson College had never closed its doors because of illness, and the college never lost a student to the illness.
Dr. Pruitt delivered generations of Anderson County residents. One graduating class of Anderson High School included twenty-six of “her” babies. Dr. Pruitt served as treasurer for the Anderson Medical Society for fourteen years; the first treasurer of the Hudson Berry D.A.R. Chapter, and a life member of the Anderson Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Dr. Olga Pruitt died June 20, 1970 at the age of eighty-five. The Olga V. Pruitt, M.D. Endowed Scholarship was established in April of 1998 for Anderson College students who demonstrate academic ability and have financial need.