Joan Harris Pierce Endowment established at Northwest

The Joan Harris Pierce Endowed scholarship was established at Northwest Mississippi Community College in loving tribute to her life of service and distinction by her brothers and sisters Billy Harris, Nella Wicker, Barbara Wright, Doc Harris, Zada Malouf, Lola Robison, Wayne Harris and the late Jimmy Harris, all of whom attended Northwest.

Pierce was born in 1937 to parents, Pete and Pauline Harris, in the small community of Pinedale which is located in Union County. In 1952 her family moved to Hernando. At eight years old, she became ill with scleroderma which resulted in a serious, on-going physical challenge for her.

In spite of this serious condition, she had a “can-do” attitude that would not allow her to quit.  Her fight and determination to succeed motivated her to graduate from Hernando High School in 1956.  She then attended and graduated from Northwest followed by Delta State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1960.

Pierce began her teaching career in Mississippi and continued teaching after moving to Jacksonville. In 1965, while in Jacksonville, she met her husband, Bob Pierce.  After several years in Jacksonville, she and Bob decided to move to his hometown in Levittown, Pennsylvania where he worked for U.S. Steel and she continued teaching. Pierce finished her teaching career while living in Levittown.  She devoted a total of 31 years to the field of education.

In 1994, after retiring, Pierce and her husband returned to Hernando making it their home.  She loved her two Shih Tzu’s who were her constant companions.  She also spent her time being involved with her church and other community activities.

Pierce passed away in October 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.

Sybil Canon, retired associate vice president of Development and Special Projects speaks fondly of Joan and her family. “In 2004, this sweet family honored their parents by establishing The Pete and Pauline Harris Endowment. Over the years, they have remained interested in this scholarship and have continued to contribute. Now, with the passing of their beloved sister, they have returned to the college that all nine siblings attended to establish yet another endowment to honor Joan’s memory.  Joan was a brave and valiant educator, and we are honored to have this endowment,” Canon said.

The scholarship will benefit a student who is pursuing a career in Education and maintains a 3.0 grade point average.

For more information on the Foundation, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist, at 662.560.1105 or email

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