Mr. James Pearson - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Mr. James Pearson

Emeritus, Awarded in 2016
IMSA Tenure: 1986-2004
Founding Board of Trustees Chairman
Board of Directors, IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education
Mr. Pearson was appointed by Governor James Thompson in 1986 to the Board of Trustees, and served as a Trustee for 18 years, as well as serving as Founding Board of Trustees Chairman.

Mr. Pearson’s relationship with the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy goes back to the mid-1980s when he served on the Board of Directors of The Corridor Partnership for Excellence in Education, a group of educators, business leaders and scientists instrumentally involved in the brainstorming and then creation of the Academy. Not only did he serve as a pivotal leader with respect to the business community and key members of the Illinois General Assembly, but he was instrumental in expediting the building of our residence halls due to his relationship with the Chairman of the Capital Development Board at that time. Mr. Pearson was elected to be the Founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees and also served as a member of IMSA’s Foundation Board. He worked closely with Dr. Leon Lederman, Mr. Jack McEachern and Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall as they created the institution, ensuring IMSA was given the appropriate financial, legislative and programmatic groundings.

Mr. Pearson has been an extraordinary supporter of IMSA’s work. As a business leader, he was instrumental in ensuring that our legislation included “IMSA as a catalyst to stimulate excellence in math and science teaching and learning across the State of Illinois.” It was because of his leadership that this language was included in IMSA’s legislation.

Not only did Mr. Pearson ensure that IMSA reflected the needs of the State of Illinois, he remains committed to the work of IMSA and has said many times that the ability to serve the Academy and provide the leadership that he did for as long as he did was one of the greatest experiences in his life.

Throughout the years Mr. Pearson and his wife Marlene have donated generously to IMSA and are members of our donor recognition society, the Kaleidoscope Society, at the green level for those donors whose lifetime giving has reached $100,000+. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education.