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Pearl Jeffries '81

Criminal Justice

Pearl Jeffries '81

Pearl Jeffries graduated from Gannon University in 1981 with a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. As a student, she was actively involved in Gannon’s minority club and has fond memories of mentorship she received from Gannon faculty members such as Reverend Fred Thompson.

Following her graduation, Ms. Jeffries began her professional career in Erie with Gannondale, an organization established by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity in 1934 to assist adolescent women with behavioral, emotional, or family difficulties. Ms. Jeffries served as the director of mission and ministry at Gannondale until its closure in June 2014. In this position, she was responsible for assisting with staff development and training, fundraising, and administrative duties.

For her contributions to the Erie community, Ms. Jeffries has been the recipient of a variety of awards including the C.A.L.L. Leadership Award in 2004, the Full Gospel Baptist Church Volunteer Award in 2009, and the Positive Health Development Award in 2011. In 2011, she was also selected as the recipient of Edinboro University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, an honor annually granted to an individual whose achievements and contributions reflect Dr. King’s philosophies, especially in social activism.

Ms. Jeffries is an ordained deacon and enjoys traveling and music. She is an active community volunteer with AseraCare, a hospice organization and is an officer of Gannon’s African American Alumni.

Although she does not have children of her own, Ms. Jeffries has played a large role in raising her two nieces. She additionally was the primary caretaker for both of her parents for nearly 25 years before their passing.

Currently, Ms. Jeffries resides in Erie and serves as a Facilitator of Social Service at Erie R.I.S.E. Leadership Academy Charter School.

When asked to give a piece of advice to current Gannon students, Ms. Jeffries said, “Do not let anyone or anything keep you from getting an education and meeting your goals. Surround yourself with people who are going in the same direction as you or are where you want to go.”

(Published July 2016)