Photo: Samuel Masinter '04
Henry B. Pearsall, Class of 1956
Medal for Eminent Service
Henry (Hank) B. Pearsall is president of Amherst’s Society of the Alumni and one of Amherst’s most committed volunteers. Since graduating 50 years ago, he has dedicated countless hours of determined service to his alma mater, particularly through the Annual Fund and through class Reunion efforts. His hard work, perseverance and leadership by example have yielded extraordinary results: he has led his class to an unprecedented 100 percent participation in the Annual Fund, and he consistently inspires those around him to match his energy and commitment.
Pearsall has been similarly successful in his professional life. He has spent most of his career with Sanford Corporation, the Bellwood, Ill., maker of writing instruments and art supplies, including Sharpie, Paper Mate, Parker, Grumbacher and Waterman. Pearsall joined Sanford in 1969 and over the years assumed positions of increasing responsibility, serving as president from 1979 until 1984, and then as president and CEO, then chairman and chief executive officer. Pearsall retired in 1994.
Before joining Sanford Corp., Pearsall was an attorney at the firm of Hopkins and Sutter. For two years, he was secretary and counsel for The Wander Company in Chicago, and from 1965 to 1969 he was president of Ovaltine Products in the Philippines.
Pearsall is a director and chairman of the board of Oak Park River Forest Bankshares, a one-bank holding company. He also is principal and director of Pearsall et Pere, a real estate development company in Chicago, director of Ariel Capital Management and a trustee of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill.
Pearsall earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a member of the law review and of the Order of the Coif. His wife, Jane, is a dedicated Smith College alumna.