on faculty since 1987
Ph.D. Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., 1992
M.A. Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., 1986
M.A.R., Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 1980
B.A. Allegheny College, Pittsburgh, 1974
Everyone ought to have a hobby they can get lost in and feel like a kid. A train set is one of those hobbies, and Dr. George Pierson has one. In fact, he has a railroad system running in the basement of his home.
The philosophy professor devotes much of his spare time to railroad history and model railroading. He houses a model train layout that takes up three-quarters of his basement. It is a replica of the Tuscarora Valley Railroad, a defunct railroad system in central Pennsylvania. The layout includes bridges, landscape, and figurines.
"I get a little carried away with it," he acknowledges. "I have between 15-20 locomotives with a couple hundred cars. I've built many of the models from scratch using raw materials like wood and plastic."
Railroad history enthrals Dr. Pierson so much that he published a book in 1995. Tommy Varner's Red Rooster (a local nickname for the railroad using its initials) tells the story about the Tuscarora Valley Railroad, whose last run occurred in 1934. He completed most of his research for his book during his time in Washington, D.C., doing graduate work. He accumulated information from original sources from that era: newspapers, government documents and financial records.
Since coming to the College in 1987, he has taught the majority of the courses offered in philosophy. He attended Allegheny College in western Pennsylvania, where he received his bachelor of arts in sociology in 1974. Six years later, he graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a master's degree in religion. He spent the next 12 years doing graduate research before earning a master's degree in 1986 and a doctorate in 1992 from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
As a philosophy professor at a Christian college, Dr. Pierson enjoys an opportunity unlike most of his colleagues: presenting the symmetry that exists between faith and philosophy. While most people may choose to repel the two from each other, he contends that the former is inherent in the latter and everything else.
"The Sovereignty of God means that all things are under His control right now," he asserts. "Everything functions because God so wills it, and a true understanding of that will change one's perspective of reality.
"Many people believe that God is in charge of spiritual things like prophecy, but I want my students to understand the biblical sense of God's rule over all creation. If I ask how God is involved with a desk, I want them to see that He sustains the atomic relationships of the matter that makes up the desk."
Dr. Pierson and his wife, Virginia, live in Blue Island, Illinois. They have been married 37 years and have two daughters, Katherine and Rebecca, and two grandsons, Milo and Theo.