This is not Pearce’s first interaction with the institute. He and his family have participated in a number of its benefactor trips to global anthropology hotspots spanning the Galapagos Islands,  Ethiopia and, most recently, the Grand Canyon.

He said learning about the history of humankind is something he’s always been passionate about. Fueling that research philanthropically is a way to keep it going.

“ASU’s stature and the research it conducts have gone worlds above many institutions now,” he said. “It’s fascinating learning more about where we come from and how we survived, and it’s great to see that at The College.”

Pearce said he likes to think another way the Pearce’s family legacy shines on is through the work of his own children. After graduating from The College with a degree in anthropology and a minor in art history in 2010, his daughter Jessica Pearce went on to pursue a master’s degree in education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Today, she works at ASU in the Study Abroad Office.

His other daughter, Meghan Alfonso, is the founder and CEO of the Scottsdale-based Pearce Family Foundation, which helps Arizona families who have children with chronic diseases.

The family has also given back to the university in other ways. Pearce commissioned local artist Jeff Carol Davenport to create both the Pat Tillman Statue and the towering bronze pitchfork now found at Sun Devil Stadium. He said his efforts both at The College and ASU are driven by a core motivation — saying thank you.

“My grandfather is the one who made my daughter’s foundation possible and our family’s success come to life,” he said. “We now have the means to give some of that back to ASU, so why not recognize the man that started it all?”


Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences