June 30, 2014

Beginning this fall, scholarships in memory of  George Joe Pearson of Harrisburg will be awarded annually to two incoming freshmen attending Southeastern Illinois College full-time.

As part of its selection process, the college’s local scholarship committee will consider applicants’ academic achievement, financial need, and commitment to community. Each scholarship will be in the amount of $1,000 and will be used to help defray the costs of tuition, fees, and books.

“Joe and Pam Pearson have long been friends of Southeastern Illinois College,” said President Dr. Jonah Rice.

“Their support for students in our region who want higher education is admirable and most gracious.  To honor Joe this way is so very fitting.”

Pearson knew firsthand the value of a college education.  He attributed much of his success as a businessman to his years attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, graduating with honors.  He also knew the importance of giving back to a community that supported him throughout his life.

In addition to helping SIC over the years by supporting numerous fundraising events through his sponsorships and donations, Pearson’s generosity extended to the First United Methodist Church of Harrisburg, where he was a member for many years.

He also provided local scholarships and supported local ball teams. While participating in community projects, he did so with an inexhaustible spirit and a check ready for any good cause.

Oftentimes, Pearson’s support came in the form of his personal efforts and an eagerness to lend a hand or help someone in distress. In addition to his philanthropy, he was known for his compassion, an ability to communicate, and a remarkable talent for bringing together people with different viewpoints.

Even at his death, Pearson’s generosity and compassion for others continued through the state’s organ donation program.  Furthermore, as a tribute to him, his family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Harrisburg First United Methodist Church, the 4C’s, CASA, or Carmi Children’s Home.

Applications for the 2015-16 Joe Pearson Memorial Scholarship will be available this fall.  Applicants are encouraged to get their forms turned in by January, but the absolute deadline for this and most scholarships is Feb. 28.


Written by Archie Blair, SIC Public Information