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Darrell Piersol

photo of Darrell Piersol

 

Darrell Piersol is one of everybody’s favorite RFSA and former faculty members. He and Barbara have been true-maroon backers of everything Texas State for many years.

Darrell grew up in Iowa and Illinois, the son of a music teacher/band director. His father taught him the trumpet, and he played in his dad’s dance band. When he joined the Army Air Corps in the waning years of World War II after graduating from high school, he was asked “what can you do?” and said “I can play the trumpet.” So, along with being trained as a gunner, he played the trumpet for the Army.

After the war, he registered as a music major at Illinois Wesleyan University and found that he loved debate and was a fair politician, so he switched his major to sociology and helped with expenses by working summers in Estes Park. With a scholarship as a residence hall counselor at Purdue, he pursued a master’s in communications and then sold cars while he earned his Ph.D.

Darrell’s main career was his 25 years with IBM. With his doctorate under his arm, he interviewed with the company in Endicott, NY. For good luck he wore briefs decorated with hearts and names by his sorority friends. He did so well at the interview that he was sent straight to Dr. Duffy for his company physical. Years afterward, when Dr. Duffy was medical director for all IBM, he asked Darrell: “Still got those shorts?”

“IBM did not know what they wanted to do with me,” he remembers. “Most of the Ph.D.s worked in technical areas.” He quickly focused his talents as a training coordinator working with all of the plant managers. During a stint at the plant in Endicott, he spotted a beautiful young worker/college student named Barbara. “She was not terribly excited to meet me,” he says. He proposed several times before getting a yes, and they were married after Barbara’s graduation. They later welcomed son Mark and daughters Laurel and Heather to the family.

IBM had a faculty loan program, in which the company provided talent to universities free of charge. In that program Darrell spent two summers at Appalachian State and later joined the faculty of Pan American University in Edinburg. Deciding it was time for a new career, Darrell left IBM, where he was now director of personnel development worldwide, and headed to Texas. Pan Am offered him a faculty position, but an offer from SWT was something he couldn’t turn down. It would allow him access to airports to continue his consulting work, and Mark and Laurel were enrolled there.

The Piersols developed keen interests in everything connected with Texas State, particularly Bobcat athletics and fine arts. Their support of many endeavors includes a presidential scholarship in dance and, with friends Margaret and Dennis Dunn, a scholarship in international studies. Darrell helped Gary Carmen start RFSA’s popular Investment Club. The two have traveled the world, love cruises and enjoy time with four grandchildren and one (so far) great-grandchild.