Non-Profit Executive and Community Leader
Hardin-Simmons graduate Cynthia King Pearson has become an outstanding community leader in Abilene, making her mark as an exceptional executive in the non-profit arena. Born on an Indian Reservation in Hardin, Montana, Pearson grew up in Denver and attended the University of Denver before completing her college education at Hardin-Simmons University from 1983 to 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
At HSU, Pearson majored in psychology with a minor in management and was actively involved in campus life. She was a member of the Delta social club and worked part-time on campus, helping with University events. As a finalist for University Queen, she was a member of the “Queen’s Court” during her senior year.
Since her graduation from HSU, Pearson has been very involved in the Abilene community and has remained closely connected to her alma mater. Her two sons were both born in Abilene and graduated from Abilene High School before heading to college. Her mother (now deceased) worked as a Research Microbiologist for the Fairleigh Dickinson Laboratories, associated with Hardin-Simmons. Pearson also worked for the Fairleigh Dickenson Laboratories, serving as business and personnel manager. As an HSU alumna, she served on the Board of Development from 2010 to 2012.
Pearson started her career at Day Nursery of Abilene in October of 1991 when she was hired by the board of directors to assist the founding executive director, succeeding her two years later. Since 1993 she has served with distinction as President and Chief Executive Officer. Today, with her guidance, the non-profit child care program operates three licensed facilities in the city. Each month, these sites serve nearly 500 children (from birth to age 10), allowing families to hold down jobs, attend school, or participate in job training programs.
Day Nursery employs nearly 100 staff members, of which seven are direct reports. Pearson herself answers to a large board of directors made up of prominent people from Abilene and the surrounding areas.
She has been involved in five capital campaigns since her start in 1991 including the 2018 near $1 million campaign for a child care expansion project in partnership with Hardin-Simmons University and Hendrick Medical Center. This new endeavor, which has an expected completion date of late summer 2019, will add an estimated 75 children to the Day Nursery program.
Under Pearson’s effective leadership, Day Nursery of Abilene has grown to $6.5 million in assets as an agency (more than tripling its size) and is debt free.
Pearson represents early childhood education on the West Central Texas Workforce Solutions Board and serves on the Board of Development for Hardin-Simmons University. She previously served on the Texas Education Reform Foundation Board and the Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition, now a part of Texans Care for Children. She also served on legislative subcommittees related to early childhood development, and in several advocacy capacities at the state and local levels related to early childhood education.
Within the community, Pearson is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Abilene, a 1993 graduate of Leadership Abilene, and a 2010 graduate of the prestigious Leadership Texas program. She previously held a seat on the Women’s Health Council for Hendrick Health System. She was selected in 2018, along with six other women, as a “Woman of Outstanding Achievement” by the Abilene chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She is a long-time member of Broadview Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School for preschool and kindergarten children for nearly 10 years.
A woman of faith with a heart for children, Pearson is highly respected in her community and committed to service to others.
For her distinguished service as a non-profit executive and community leader, it is a high honor for HSU to induct one of its own, Cynthia King Pearson, into the Hardin-Simmons University Hall of Leaders.