Steve & Elizabeth Pierson Endowed Scholarship created to benefit incoming first-time freshmen from Jackson County, Illinois, starting fall 2020
MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State alumni Steve and Elizabeth Pierson are giving back to their alma mater by establishing a scholarship that will benefit incoming first-time freshmen from Steve’s native Jackson County, Illinois.
The Steve & Elizabeth Pierson Endowed Scholarship has been established thanks to the Pierson family’s generous gift to the Murray State University Foundation. Starting in the fall of 2020, incoming freshmen at Murray State from Jackson County — especially Murphysboro High School — will have the opportunity to apply for the scholarship; applicants must carry a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and have participated in service organizations, high school government organizations and/or athletics and served the school as a member or leader of an organization or team. Financial need may also be considered.
“Murray State is a special place to Elizabeth and me and prepared us extremely well for our respective careers,” Steve said. “Our family is a family of educators, including my mother, Thelma Pierson, who taught for over 25 years at Murphysboro High School. The endowment is a way to show our appreciation to Murray State, to the educators at MHS and to our families. We are excited to help provide opportunities for students from Murphysboro to take advantage of Murray State.”
Steve and Elizabeth both made their mark on their chosen professions after graduating from Murray State in 1984; Steve worked for over 30 years in senior positions in accounting, finance and business in public accounting and the insurance industry in Atlanta, while Elizabeth devoted herself to teaching elementary and middle school students, many with special needs. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience in Cobb County, Georgia.
The Piersons’ children, Christopher and Ashley, both graduated from Murray State in 2012. Chris was active in Racer Band and Pep Band and earned a Bachelor of Science in recreation and leisure sciences. Ashley played four years of tennis as a Racer and earned a BS in biology. Steve and Elizabeth’s third child, Bradley, graduated from the University of Georgia in May.
“We’re very grateful to Steve and Elizabeth for their long-standing support of Murray State University,” said Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson. “A significant number of students, by nature of our close proximity to the southern Illinois area, choose Murray State to encounter a life-changing college experience rooted in high-quality academics that prepares them well for success following graduation. This generous scholarship will impact many future Racers from southern Illinois, specific to Jackson County.”
“Scholarships are needed investments in support of our students and their families,” said Tina Bernot, executive director of development at Murray State. “Generous donors, like Steve and Elizabeth Pierson, have really stepped up to support education at Murray State. Since last fall, donors have given over $4 million in total support for scholarships. That kind of giving impacts a great number of students.”
Photo: Murray State alumni Steve and Elizabeth Pierson, pictured from left, are giving back to their alma mater by establishing a scholarship that will benefit incoming first-time freshmen from Steve’s native Jackson County, Illinois.