JoAnn Pierce was born November 26, 1925, and grew up in ranching country south of San Antonio, Texas. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Baylor University and a master's degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Her land-grant university experience began in 1964 at the University of Illinois where she was media services coordinator in the office of agricultural communications. She joined the Florida staff in 1974 as a news writer and extension publications editor.
Because of an increased demand for publications in the late 1970s, she was assigned exclusively to publications and was named coordinator of the publications section in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Pierce retired from the University of Florida in July 1996.