The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


William J. Pierce
Law School

William J. Pierce was born December 4, 1921 in Flint, Michigan. Following wartime service, he received his BA from the University of Michigan in 1947, then entered the U-M Law School, receiving the degree of Juris Doctor in 1949.

Pierce began his career at the University as a research assistant (1949-1950) and then research associate (1950-1951) in the Law School. In 1951, he was appointed to the Law School faculty as an assistant professor, eventually becoming full professor in 1958. In 1952, Pierce was also named assistant director of the Law School's Legislative Research Center. He became director in 1957. He retired from the university in 1989.

In 1953, Pierce was appointed Michigan Commissioner on Uniform State Laws and also a member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). Both within the Law School where he taught courses on the subject and professionally as a member of the NCCUSL, Pierce's primary specialty was in the area of legislation and legislative drafting. Pierce was a member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws for more than forty years, serving as chairman of the executive committee, 1965-1967, president 1967-1969, and then following his term as president, as executive director, where he served until 1992.