1966 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Do all you can to get all the education available to you."
From the time he was a clerk in his father's small grocery store, Elmer Pierson believed in the importance of education. He financed his night classes at the Kansas City School of Law by working as a salesman for a wholesale grocery firm. In 1933, he became the youngest president of the Kansas City Real Estate Board. Later, he was president of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1937, with an idea and capital of $15,000, he and his brother founded the Vendo Company to manufacture vending equipment. In 1963, Vendo had annual sales of more than $75 million and operated internationally. Pierson initiated a profit-sharing program at a time when few such plans existed. He financed the construction of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and land for a combination junior high school and park named in his honor. His educational grants-in-aid and scholarships extend throughout the nation. He originated a continuing counseling program for a class of Eagle Scouts and held Scouting's Beaver Award.* Deceased