Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) is an old business tycoon attending Greendale Community College on "Community." Pierce started the company Hawthorne Wipes, an "award-winning" moist towelette manufacturer. He often brings this up in casual conversation, exaggerating his life and getting into trouble. He also makes a number of unwittingly offensive statements and doesn't understand youth culture.
Pierce has been divorced seven times and has 32 "ex-stepchidren," including one who spends time with him to get him to pay her "college tuition." To Pierce, the study group is his only family and along with Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), he sees himself as one of the parents of the group. At one point Pierce also hangs out with a gang of Greendale's elderly students called the "hipsters" (since they all have hip replacements), but when they abandon a friend in trouble Pierce realizes the study group is where he really belongs.
Pierce is a Level 5 Laser Lotus in his local "Buddhist community" cult, which is constantly mocked by the group. When he announces that he will be moving up to the next level, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) gives him a wizard costume and tells him that it was sent to him by the "Buddhist community." When Pierce's mother dies, he follows the cult's practices believing she will be reborn, even though she left him a recording saying that she is gone for good.
Pierce lives in a mansion and takes in fellow student Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) as a roommate. He becomes the keyboardist of Greendale's hippy band, but is almost immediately kicked out due to creative differences. In the second season he breaks his legs on a trampoline and then outbids three hospitals to get an incredibly expensive and complex breath-controlled wheelchair.
"I can't think of anything more frightening than a half-Polish, half-Arab virgin in his thirties. One way or another, that ends with an explosion."
"When I was 30 people used to wish I was dead to my face, that's called respect."
"Why study my ancient ancestors when we can just study the primitive races like Eskimos or Italians?"