Jerry Pierce Obituary, Death – Jerry Pierce, the vice president of external affairs at Northwestern State University, passed away on Tuesday, November 8, following a brief illness. Funeral arrangements will soon be made. As an administrator, writer, comedian, ambassador, fundraiser, and mentor to leaders at all levels of administration, including nine NSU presidents, Pierce had a huge impact on the institution, the community, and the state. Since the middle of the 1960s, Mr. Pierce has served our institution under a number of presidents with honor and dignity. According to NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones, “He is irreplaceable.” I think of him as a friend and mentor who has consistently given wise counsel.
The immediate past president of Northwestern State University, Dr. Chris Maggio, said, “Words cannot express the amount of Jerry Pierce’s impact on Northwestern State University and on me personally and professionally. He gave me a number of opportunities because he knew everyone in the state. Throughout my administration, Jerry and I chatted frequently. For Capitol visits, donor meetings, and constituency appearances, Jerry gave research, briefings, and communication advice. He had clear communication. Jerry Pierce was hailed as the greatest storyteller he had ever met by Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System and former head of NSU.
“We should all be happy that he devoted his unmatched talent to serve our alma mater for almost 60 years, says the Northwestern State family. Even though he is gone, his legacy will live on. After graduating from Springhill High School in 1957, Pierce was recruited by Northwestern as a football trainer and earned four letters. He served as a N Club officer and sports editor for the school newspaper. He began working for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as executive sports editor at age 24 after graduating from journalism school in 1961.
Director of Sports Information Pierce visited Northwestern once again in 1965. He oversaw NSU Athletics, NSU Foundation and Alumni Affairs, News Bureau/Media Relations, Sports Information, the Wellness Recreation and Activities Center, and the NSU Recreation Complex before being appointed vice president of External Affairs. He spent several years representing the university before the NCAA, the Southland Conference, and politicians. He served as co-chair for Northwestern’s 125th and 100th anniversaries. For decades, Pierce delivered speeches at many state-sponsored gatherings and hosted or made guest appearances on a large number of radio and television programs.
In Natchitoches, Pierce established the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1972. He was listed as one of Louisiana’s 20 “Most Influential Sportspeople” at the time by The Times-Picayune. He established the NSU Athletic N Club Hall of Fame and the Long Purple Line, the university’s alumni hall of fame, both of which were recently inducted. Pierce received numerous media, civic, social, and professional awards. Additionally, he wrote and published thousands of stories and articles for regional journals and newspapers in Louisiana. Pierce won awards from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and College Sports Information Directors of America for general interest stories, features, sports columns, editorials, and news items.
Pierce wrote a book of essays for the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives and “Northwestern at 125,” a 200-page coffee table book commemorating Northwestern University’s 125th anniversary. He co-edited the scrapbook of the Natchitoches filming and served as Northwestern’s point of contact for “The Man in the Moon” and “Steel Magnolias.” 50-year memberships were also given to the Louisiana Press Association, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the Blue Key National Honor Society. He won a lifetime membership and the Mac Russo Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Pierce took part in municipal affairs in Natchitoches. He was honored with the Natchitoches Mayor’s Award for Community Service, the American Legion Natchitoches Parish Man of the Year, the Natchitoches Parish Chamber of Commerce President’s Award, the City of Natchitoches Achievement Appreciation Award, the Lieutenant Governor’s Louisiana Ambassador Award, membership in the Chamber of Commerce’s first Ambassadors’ Club, a nomination for the Chamber of Commerce Natchitoches Parish Man of the Year, a position as a Kiwanis Club member and officer, and He participated in USTA teams that won five regional championships, a national championship, and more than a dozen state championships.
For more over 20 years, Pierce made donations to the NSU Foundation. He and Regina funded academic and sports scholarships at the university. Regina, two sons, a daughter, nine granddaughters, and six great-grandchildren are all left behind by Pierce.