James M. Pierce

Class of 1940 / Inducted 1975 / Men's Track & Field

James Pierce, a pole-vault specialist on the Wasps’ track & field team, was inducted into the Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame in 1975, two years after his brother and fellow pole-vault star, Donald Pierce.

Outside of track, Pierce also played football, was a member of the Hermesian Literary Society, Varsity Club, Blue Key, Phi Gamma Phi, and Men’s Pan-Hellenic Council, among other social and academic clubs. He also was on staff at the Whitetopper school newspaper and the Sphinx yearbook.

After graduating, Pierce became the assistant principal at Pembroke High School in Pembroke, Virginia. In 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during World War II and participated as an ensign in the invasions of North Africa and Italy. He was promoted to lieutenant commander and assigned command at Fort Myers Weapon’s Test Center in Delaware, Maryland, where he remained until he was discharged. He then began a career in construction, starting his own company in Maryland before moving to Northeast Tennessee, where he became a developing partner with Charles Lowery Construction and Real Estate Company.

Pierce went on to earn Master of Science and Education Specialist degrees from the University of Tennessee. He taught building trades at the Bristol Technical school until 1953, when he began and directed development and construction of the Bristol Technical Institute, which would later become the Tri-City State Technical Institute and is now Northeast State Community College. He served as president of the Tri-Cities State Technical Institute until his retirement in 1983. Additionally, he served on the Tennessee advisory council for vocational education at the request of the governor.

James Pierce passed away at age 90 on December 29, 2008.