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Stanford Report, February 27, 2002

Memorial service Monday for Daniel Pearl, '85


A campus memorial service has been scheduled Monday for Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who graduated from Stanford in 1985 and was killed in Pakistan.

The service, which is open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. at Memorial Church.

Pearl, the Journal's South Asia bureau chief, had been committed to journalism since his Stanford days. He wrote for the Stanford Daily and graduated with a bachelor's degree with distinction and with honors in communication.

"We are devastated by the news of Danny Pearl’s death," said Kristine Samuelson, chair of the Department of Communication. "We are in the business of training young journalists to tell the world’s stories and we’ve just lost one."

President John Hennessy praised Pearl’s courage as he extended his sympathy to Pearl’s family and friends. "Daniel’s pursuit of truth -- even at his own peril -- represents the very highest values of a free press in a democratic society."

Pearl, 38, disappeared in Karachi on Jan. 23 while interviewing leaders of Islamic groups. On Jan. 25, "The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty" sent an e-mail to several news organizations claiming that it had captured Pearl because he was a CIA officer posing as a journalist. The State Department on Thursday announced Pearl had been killed, based on evidence received at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.

The e-mail made several demands for the journalist's release, including the return of Pakistani prisoners now being held by the United States in Guantánamo, Cuba. An e-mail sent on Jan. 30, the last known message from the captors, reiterated the demands and threatened to kill Pearl in 24 hours if the demands were not met.

"He stood out from the other students, bright as Stanford students are," said Communication Professor Emerita Marion Lewenstein, who worked with Pearl on an independent project. "He was always going at things at a slightly different angle."

Pearl went on to work for papers in western Massachusetts after graduation. At the Berkshire Eagle, he won a national award for a series on land use. Hired by the Journal in 1990, Pearl worked first in domestic bureaus before he went to London to write about the Middle East. He began working in Bombay in 2000. In 1998, he met his wife Mariane, who is now pregnant with their first child.

Daniel Pearl in the 1985 Stanford Quad yearbook