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September 6, 2006

Former university general secretary, fund-raiser Daryl Pearson dead at 87

By Ray Delgado

Daryl Pearson, the university's former general secretary and staff legal counsel who led the $300 million Campaign for Stanford in the 1970s, died Sept. 2. He was 87.

A campus resident since 1959, Pearson died of natural causes in Oakland shortly after attending services at the Mormon temple there, said his son B. Howard Pearson, director of principal gifts and development legal counsel at Stanford.

During his 31-year career at the university, Daryl Pearson helped to lead fundraising efforts. Between 1955 and 1985, the year before his retirement, Stanford gifts climbed from about $5 million to $125 million annually.

When Pearson arrived at the university, its fundraising was managed by the Office of the General Secretary. It was renamed the Office of Development in 1977. "Daryl Pearson helped establish fundraising as a profession in this country, certainly in higher education," said John Ford, senior vice president for university resources and former vice president for development. "Daryl was a devoted Stanford alumnus, a wise lawyer and counselor, and a strong leader in the General Secretary's Office, the predecessor organization to today's Office of Development. Daryl worked very closely with presidents Sterling, Lyman and Kennedy and with some of Stanford's leading volunteers and donors—Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Bob Brown and Morrie Doyle, who relied on his thoughtful perspectives. He played a key role in two Stanford campaigns and served as a role model to younger generations of staff. He will always be remembered for his integrity, honesty and deep understanding of the university's mission."

Born in Meadow, Utah, Pearson met Ivy, his wife of 52 years, in nearby Delta, where he attended high school. They moved to California during World War II when the Navy stationed him as a petty officer at Treasure Island. After the war, Pearson earned a bachelor's degree in law in 1947 and a professional law degree (doctor of jurisprudence) in 1949, both from Stanford. Prior to working at the university, Pearson clerked for the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked as a private lawyer in Palo Alto.

In 1955, Pearson was recruited by university president Wallace Sterling to take on the two positions of associate general secretary and staff legal counsel. His duties included handling trusts and bequests, which led him into the arena of fundraising. In 1965, Pearson succeeded David Jacobson as general secretary, supervising the university's gift procurement program.

"Working here has been a pure pleasure," Pearson said in 1986. "I can truthfully say I can't think of anything I would have enjoyed doing more. Working here is much more than just earning a paycheck—it's doing some good. I like to think I have contributed to Stanford's progress."

Pearson was an avid fisherman and played tennis regularly on campus during the weekends. After retirement, he practiced law, consulted for various charities on development matters and was a court-appointed special master for the Buck Trust in Marin County.

Pearson also was active in community affairs, serving as board president of the Family Service Association of the Mid-Peninsula, vice president of Palo Alto's Senior Coordinating Council, and chairman of the Board of Advisers of the Santa Clara County Community Foundation. He also worked as a volunteer for Avenidas and the Santa Clara County Community Foundation.

His wife, Ivy, died in 1992. He is survived by his son B. Howard Pearson; his daughter, Joan Petty of Baltimore; eight grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.

Services will be held at noon Sept. 8 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3865 Middlefield Rd. in Palo Alto, followed by interment at Alta Mesa Memorial Park.

Memorial donations can be made to Stanford University.



Ray Delgado, News Service: (650) 724-5708,


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