Ole Miss is a family. Families are always there for each other, providing support no matter how many miles separate them. A member of the Ole Miss family, Tread Pearson, took that same route. He graduated from Ole Miss, earning two bachelor degrees in 1978 (Journalism & Advertising, Business Administration) and obtaining a Master of Arts (Radio & Television) in 1981. While in school, he was a member of the Ole Miss Marching Band and was a senior staff writer for the Daily Mississippian. When his academic days finished, Pearson stuck around Oxford to serve as the first sports information director for women’s athletics at Ole Miss before later moving to Boston, where he’s lived for the past two decades.
Now, Pearson is back in Oxford. After years away, it only made sense to come back. The Pearson’s have been part of the Ole Miss family for decades. Tread’s father, Thomas Sr., was a member of legendary head football coach John Vaught’s first recruiting class. In 1978, Tread’s senior year, his mother, Diane, was the first woman named to the Ole Miss Athletics Committee.
Tread’s three siblings were Rebels as well. Thomas Jr. and Rodney were on the Ole Miss cross country team during their college days, while Jacklyn was a member of the marching band as a Music in Theory and Composition major. “My family owes much of its success to the life lessons we learned at Ole Miss,” said Pearson. “Our experiences there prepared us for the accomplishments with which we have been blessed and our involvement with the athletic programs gave us some of our most treasured memories.”
Tread and his family are extremely passionate about Ole Miss. They have season tickets for football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and rarely miss an Olympic sport contest in Oxford. Wanting his life immersed in Ole Miss, Pearson started thinking of ways he could give back to a place that gave so much to him and his family. That’s when the tradition of a family member gave him an idea. “My uncle, Faser Triplett, began a great family tradition of giving to Ole Miss, and it is important to me to be able to continue providing support as much as I can,” mentioned Pearson.
Sticking to his family’s commitment to Ole Miss, Pearson decided to make a six-figure donation to Ole Miss Athletics to enhance the student-athlete experience. The generous gift, the first towards Athletics for Pearson, is one that he believes is a necessity for the future. “It is very important for us to give back and help Ole Miss continue to provide opportunities to deserving student-athletes. The University is preparing the future of our state and the future of our country, and we are honored to be able to help in any way,” noted Pearson.
The majority of Pearson’s gift will go towards women’s athletics at Ole Miss. He will honor his mother, Diane, with a naming opportunity in the newly renovated Gillom Sports Center expected to be completed by March 2017. The major commitment is also due to his strong confidence in the Ole Miss Athletics administration. “Ross Bjork has provided outstanding leadership for the Ole Miss Athletics Department, and in particular, for women’s athletics,” Pearson said. “His focus on ensuring Ole Miss has well-rounded athletic programs with outstanding facilities, coaches and staff has received nationwide attention.”
Along with his donation, and in conjunction with the School of Accountancy, Pearson and Ole Miss will start the Diane Pearson Opportunity Fund. Named after his mother, the fund will allow others to donate specifically towards women’s athletics at Ole Miss. The fund will serve as an endowment with accounting, and gifts made to athletics will support unique student-athlete development opportunities each year.
Tread’s motivation stems from his mother’s passion and leadership towards both athletics and accounting. “My goal is to honor and continue the work started by my mother She was a pioneer in ensuring that women had all the tools necessary to fulfill their potential,” Pearson reminisced. “The Diane Pearson Opportunity Fund provides a unique enhancement for Ole Miss. Monies raised from this campaign will be used to prepare female student athletes to achieve success in life.”
If you have any questions or would like to support the fund to benefit women’s athletics, please contact the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at 662-915-7159.