Harry J. Pearce '64
Harry Pearce is currently chairman of MDU Resources Group, Inc. Mr. Pearce was Chairman of the Hughes Electronics Corporation Board of Directors, a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, from May 2001 until the sale by General Motors of its interest in Hughes in December 2003. Mr. Pearce had served on the Hughes Board since November 1992. He was Vice Chairman of General Motors Corporation Board of Directors from 1996 until his retirement from General Motors in May 2001.
Mr. Pearce was the founding Chairman of The Sabre Society and served as a member, and later as Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He received the U.S. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Colonel I. Robert Kriendler Memorial Award in 1998. In 2001, he was selected as one of the first recipients of the first U.S. Air Force Academy’s Distinguished Graduate Award. During his service career, Mr. Pearce served as a Staff Judge Advocate in the Air Force and was certified as a military judge. On his return to civilian life in 1970 he joined Pearce and Durick, a law firm in Bismarck, N.D. He was a municipal judge in Bismarck from 1970 to 1976, was elected a city commissioner, and also served as United States Commissioner and U.S. Magistrate. As a partner in Pearce and Durick he represented the auto industry in product liability cases across the country until 1985 when he joined the legal staff of General Motors as an Associate General Counsel. He was elected Vice President and General Counsel of General Motors in 1987. Mr. Pearce was a member of the board of directors of Marriott International from 1995 to 2015, served as past Chairman of the National Defense University Foundation and National Bone Marrow Foundation and as a director of The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link. Mr. Pearce is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and a fellow in the International Society of Barristers. He served as the first chairman of the Product Liability Advisory Council Foundation and was a founding member of the Minority Counsel Demonstration Program of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, and served as the founding Chairman of Yale University’s Chairmen’s Forum. Mr. Pearce served as co-chair of the Presidential Commission on the United States Postal Service, and also serves as a trustee of Northwestern University. Mr. Pearce was born on Aug. 20, 1942, in Bismarck, N.D. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering sciences from the United States Air Force Academy in 1964. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University's School of Law in 1967. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1997 and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Northwestern University in 1998. In 2005, he received the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Public Service Award; the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in 2004; the Society of Surgical Oncology’s James Ewing Layman’s Award in 2003; the International Association of Organ Donation’s Corporate Benefactor Award and The American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations Award in 2001; the National Conference for Community & Justice Humanitarian Award, The Black Patriots Foundation Leadership Award in 2000; Parents magazine’s “As They Grow” Award in 1999; The Detroit News “Michiganian of the Year” Award in 1998; and the ABA’s Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession’s “Spirit of Excellence” Award in 1997.