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In Memoriam: William "Billy" Pierce

Campus remembers Associate in Arts student Billy Pierce

William Joseph “Billy” Pierce, a second year student in the University of Delaware Associate in Arts Program (AAP), Wilmington Campus, passed away Nov. 15, 2020, after a motorcycle accident. He was 20.

“On behalf of the entire University community, I extend our deepest condolences to Billy’s family, friends and classmates,” Adam Cantley, dean of students, said. “We are all saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of this young man with so much passion and promise.”

William "Billy" Pierce
Billy Pierce

Deb Laino, AAP psychology instructor, said, “Billy Pierce was a wonderful student who was personable and a delight to have in class. He was so well liked by his fellow classmates and enjoyed group discussions and expressing his thoughts in class! Billy was so much fun during our early morning class and had an impact on each of his classmates. He made us all laugh often with his stories as they related to psychology. It is very sad that the UDel community lost such a bright young man. Billy will truly be missed."

For Robin Kucharczyk, assistant professor of chemistry and faculty coordinator for the AAP Wilmington Campus, Mr. Pierce was initially a quiet student whose personality emerged during her course in Snack Science. ”In his ‘Tell Me About You’ assignment, he mentioned cars, motorcycles and video games as his passions,” she said. “He admitted at the start that he was taking Snack Science for the credits, but over time the course grew on him and he came to enjoy learning how much science there was behind the food he ate. For example, he had to choose a three-course meal to write about, and he was inspired by his favorite restaurant Olive Garden to choose “a garden salad, followed by chicken parmigiana with tomato sauce with fettuccine Alfredo on the side, with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.” 

Mr. Pierce graduated from St. Marks High School in 2019. He also attended Caravel Academy through eighth grade.  He had been working part-time at the Shop Rite in Glasgow, Delaware, while studying to be an accountant.

He was active in several organizations and played ice hockey for St. Marks High School, Delaware Jr. Blue Hens, Snipers, Delaware Ducks and Caravel Academy. His family said he enjoyed nothing more than being a goalie. He was also a goaltender for the St. Marks' Lacrosse Team for all four years of high school.

In addition, he was a founding member of the Diamond State Curling Club, and a tribute to him has been posted on the club’s Facebook page. He also was a former member of the Delaware Jr. Golf League and played baseball with Canal Little League.

Mr. Pierce loved dogs and was active as a junior handler in dog shows across the country and into Canada. His most recent passion was motorcycles, and he spent countless hours working on the bikes and immersing himself in everything related to riding them.

He is survived by his father, Louis Pierce of Newark, Delaware; his mother, Terry Pierce of Greensboro, North Carolina; his maternal grandmother, Linda Gaynor of Lewes, Delaware, and his paternal grandmother, Bobbi Spencer of Oak Orchard, Delaware. He also leaves behind many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A celebration of Mr. Pierce’s life is being planned for the spring or summer.

Gifts in his memory may be made to an organization that was dear to Mr. Pierce. During his time as a goaltender for St. Marks, he participated in Hockey for a Cause charity games each year. Donations can be made online at https://www.dfrc.org/donation-form.html.

Condolences may be left online.

Resources for support

For any students in need of support or assistance, the Division of Student Life provides a variety of resources.

Students in need are encouraged to reach out to the Center for Counseling and Student Development (302-831-2141). The center also provides the UD Helpline, which is available at any time, day or night, for students feeling anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or otherwise in need of counseling. By calling 302-831-1001, live counseling assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If a group of students would like to have a group Zoom session, that also can be arranged through the center.

In addition, staff members in the Office of the Dean of Students are available to assist any student who wishes to talk. Call 302-831-8939 to schedule an appointment.

UD benefitted employees may contact HMS/Health Advocates 24/7 at 800-343-2186, provide them with the name: State of Delaware. They have contracted staff and their own staff employees to assist with counseling needs of faculty and staff. HMS/Health Advocate provides online assistance at https://hms.HealthAdvocate.com.

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