W. Pierce Liles

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W. Pierce Liles
COLUMBIA, SC - W. Pierce Liles, 76, died, Thursday, January 29, 2015. A celebration of life will be held at Virginia Wingard Methodist Church, 1500 Broad River Road, on Sunday, February 1, at 3:00 p.m. The Reverends John Culp, Scott Smoak, and Bob Borom will officiate. The family will receive friends after the service in the church Welcome Center.
Pierce is survived by his adored wife of 21 years, Ann Coleman Menger Liles and by his beloved children, Harper Liles and daughter Emily; Melissa Liles Mills (Tim) and sons Ian and Landon; Clark (Blue) and children, Darwin, Zora, Sona, Banner, and
Yeager; Bobby Menger (Elena) and sons Nick (Catherine) and Michael (Kayla); Billy Menger (Angela) and daughters
Sydney, Addison, and son Kyle Dauw (Alicia); and, Kathy Menger (Buddy McCart) and son Jack. In addition to his 13 grandchildren, he has three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Joann Jones (Ed), and nieces, Lanie, Leslie Hudson (John), and Andy Hughes (Roger); and by his brother-in-law, Robert Coleman (Karen). He was preceded in death by his first wife, Matilda "Tilly" Harper Liles, and by his parents, William S. Liles and Mary Jo "Buddy" Pierce Liles.
Born in Dalton, GA, Pierce moved to Aiken, South Carolina, at a young age where, growing up, he worked in his father's drugstore. This led him to him earning a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of South Carolina in 1962. After graduation, he taught for several years in the Aiken public schools and also worked as an administrator and coach. He served in the Army Reserves for six years.
Pierce returned to the University of South Carolina and earned a Master's degree (1970) and a Ph. D. (1972) in the Moore School of Business. After graduation, he taught for one year at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, before the lure of his alma mater brought him home to his much-beloved USC business school as Assistant Director, then Director of Graduate Studies from 1976 to 1994. His scholarship is recorded in academic journals and publications, and he was recognized in the journal Economics of Education Review for his achievements. Pierce introduced curriculum advances and enhanced the protocol of the graduate programs. He was instrumental in advising and guiding new graduate program curricula and courses-of-action to include the renowned international business programs.
In this 18-year period, Pierce excelled as an administrator in Graduate Studies overseeing doctoral programs and seven master's degree programs. He set forth and maintained camaraderie among faculty, staff, students, and alumni - often hosting events that remain renowned for fun and fellowship. He directed the application, courses-of-study, fellowship/scholarship, and graduation processes that marked advances that were often first in the field. He was a champion of the students and mentor to many. Graduates world-wide continue to sing his praises and laud his support and friendship. The W. Pierce Liles Outstanding Graduate Student Award is presented each year to the Ph. D. candidate who best represents scholarship, teaching, and service achievements.
Pierce returned to full-time teaching in 1994 in the Economics Department at the Moore School. He retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 2005 after 33 years of devoted professional service. Pierce loved teaching and was always available to students and colleagues alike. He was, and will continue to be, sorely missed by faculty, staff, and students.
Pierce is widely known for his kindness, loyalty, and generosity. He was humble and will always be remembered for having good times with family and friends - and for humorously recalling numerous stories with glee and mischievousness. He deeply loved and was devoted to his family, whom he always put first in any decision. He looked forward to decorating extensively for Christmas and Halloween, singing to Motown Music, attending Gamecock football games, and playing practical jokes. His graduate receptions were notorious, and they are fondly remembered by alumni nationwide and worldwide. The staff of the Graduate Division mourned his return to teaching and credits him as the best boss ever. Pierce leaves a legacy of "do the right thing and the right thing to do."
The family extends heartfelt thanks to Doctors Rachel Vidal, Shawn Ghent, and Glen Dougherty; to nurses Danielle Leao, Kim Deese, and Michelle Crane; and to other staff at Providence Hospital for their kindness and comforting care.
Memorials may be made to the University of South Carolina Business Partnership Foundation (USC-BPF), Darla Moore School of Business, 1014 Greene Street, Columbia, SC, 29208 or Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church, 1500 Broad River Road, Columbia, SC 29210.
Please sign the online guestbook and send condolences to www.dunbarfuneralhomedutchfork.com.
Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star on Jan. 31, 2015
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