"Do you know why there is a rock wall around the UA?" asks Stephen Pierce. The question is directed to a stumped administrator on a recent visit by Pierce to the University of Arizona campus.
Pierce, who has just taken the reins as president of the Arizona Senate, already knows the answer. From 1968 to 1972, he was a student at the UA where he learned, among other things, about how the wall was built to keep range cattle off of the campus.
As a member of a pioneer ranching family in Arizona, there is a good chance he would have known anyway.
Pierce is all about cattle. He graduated with a degree in animal science from what is now the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, worked in the meat sciences laboratory, was a member of the livestock judging team and after graduation took charge of the family ranch near Prescott.
A native of Phoenix, the farms where Pierce grew up in the early 1950s have long since given way to urban neighborhoods, strip malls and even a golf course and country club.
His grandfather, Delbert Pierce, moved to Arizona and started farming and ranching in 1915. Pierce's maternal grandfather also owned a farm north of Scottsdale near the Pima Indian Reservation.
"My grandfather (Delbert Pierce) once worked for O'Malley Lumber Company in Phoenix," he said. "One guy came in and said he was getting married and didn't have anything of value except a homestead in Paradise Valley, which was way out on Pinnacle Peak Road. My grandfather traded him furniture and other things to help him get started in exchange for land out in the desert, which was nothing.
"Talk about having land, I spoke with my father about it. He said ‘Yeah, I had land right next to it that I paid $4 an acre and sold for $9 an acre. And I was happy.'"
Read more from this January 19 UANews article at http://uanews.org/node/44285