E. Douglas Pratt
Class of 1970
The eyes of the world were on us, the American college generation of 1966 to 1974. Passionately and boldly we were renewing the American Dream of peace, freedom, and respect for diversity. For a young man attempting to overcome the chaos of an alcoholic family, this rebellious milieu transformed my need for fairness into a dream career.
We SBU students of the Aquarian Age were not of one accord, as we had diverse opinions of what was going on. Some of us wanted to end war and promote social justice by working more aggressively within the political system. Some of us adopted the radical tactics of The New Left and others dropped out into hippie culture. There were also many among us who revered tradition, and some who misunderstood or feared change.
In those years, the campus saw protest marches and political “street theater.” Many advocated for a strike, a closing of SBU as a statement that would influence other institutions to take a stand for peace. To discuss this issue openly, SBU President Fr. Reginald Redlon convened a forum for all students to meet with the SBU Board. A few days after this forum, we were shocked that the Board announced a Universitywide strike for the cause of world peace.
This courageous decision pulled me back from radical tactics and restored my faith in what we called “the system.” The events of these SBU years focused my passion for social justice on a career of service. After graduation, I earned a Doctorate in Social Work and became board licensed as a psychotherapist working with abused children.
Since 1990, I’ve been an independent consultant enhancing the way agencies help families with alcoholism and physical abuse. Avocationally, I’ve worked in my local community on presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. I adopted a child who had been abused and she has grown into a talented, independent young woman.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, we practiced dramatic new ways to exercise traditional Franciscan values for peace and protection of the underdog. As a result, my passion for social justice became my career as well as my lifestyle. The remarkable experience I had at SBU helped transform my desire to believe in the American Dream … that desire to “believe in” the Dream became a practice of doing my part daily to make the Dream a reality.