Pioneering business administration professor named 2018-2019 Robert O. Lawton distinguished professor

Professor Pam Perrewé is the 2018-2019 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor. "Because of my love for Florida State, this is like the Nobel Prize to me."
Professor Pam Perrewé is the 2018-2019 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor. "Because of my love for Florida State, this is like the Nobel Prize to me." (FSU Photography Services)

Pamela L. Perrewé, professor of business administration in the Department of Management, has been named Florida State University’s 2018-2019 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor.

It’s the highest honor given by FSU faculty members to one of their own.

“I am so proud and excited because this award is very meaningful personally,” said Perrewé, the Haywood and Betty Taylor Eminent Scholar of Business Administration, Professor of Management, Professor of Sport Management and Distinguished Research Professor. “Because of my love for Florida State, this is like the Nobel Prize to me. It is the best award and biggest honor you can possibly receive as a faculty member.”

Perrewé, who’s worked her entire career in FSU’s College of Business, has earned an international reputation for her research in business and human resources management, particularly related to job stress, coping and organizational politics. Since she was hired in 1984, Perrewé has written or contributed to more than 40 books, published over 130 research articles and influenced research efforts worldwide about job stress.

“I congratulate Dr. Perrewé for earning this tremendous honor. It is certainly well-deserved,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “If you look at past recipients of the Lawton award, the group looks like a Hall of Fame of faculty members. Pam has distinguished herself as a teacher, scholar and faculty athletics representative who consistently has worked to improve the welfare of our student-athletes.”

Perrewé has served as the faculty athletics representative since 2011. In that role, she has represented FSU before the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Atlantic Coast Conference and established herself as the go-to adviser on athletic and academic issues, including fiscal accountability and the welfare of student-athletes.

Perrewé first got involved with FSU’s Athletics Board about a decade ago and rose to faculty athletics representative. She modestly attributes that achievement to a “series of accidents,” but in hindsight, it seems more like fate. It’s true the job was completely unrelated to her extensive experience in business management; however, colleagues wanted her for the role because of her ability and attitude. Perrewé welcomed the challenge, demonstrated a commitment to maximize academic opportunities for student-athletes and cared about doing the job well.

That’s a common theme in the career of Perrewé — she dives into the task at hand, whether it’s related to academics or athletics, and makes sure it’s done thoughtfully, thoroughly and with empathy. As a result, she is credited with enhancing Florida State’s relationship with the NCAA and ACC, elevating the reputation of FSU and the College of Business with high-impact scholarly work, serving as a mentor and inspiring people around her to reach higher.

“Pam is the epitome of what a thought leader ought to be,” wrote Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Management and Research Fellow in the JMI Institute, in his letter to the Lawton nominating committee. “She is an established and sought-after voice, responsible for influencing how scholars think, what projects are pursued and how practice is impacted. When Pam talks, others listen.”

Perrewé has worked at FSU her entire career. "Florida State has given me every opportunity. I'm glad to have worked at one university for my whole career."
Perrewé has worked at FSU her entire career. “Florida State has given me every opportunity. I’m glad to have worked at one university for my whole career.”

People have always listened to Perrewé, even in 1984 when the business world was dominated by men and even more so at academic institutions. In that context, she’ll never forget the reception she received from mostly male colleagues in FSU’s Department of Management — they were welcoming and respectful.

“Even though I was a new professor, they invited me to get involved in the department and wanted to hear my ideas,” Perrewé said. “They were hungry to improve, and they believed I could really help them with fresh ideas and perspectives. They were so good to me.”

As one of only a half dozen female faculty members in the College of Business 34 years ago — and the only one in the Department of Management — she became a pioneering and resolute influence helping to expand faculty ranks with more women.

Perrewé has always stepped up to take on new challenges, especially when no one else would, Hochwarter said. She has performed many jobs during her career, including associate dean of the College of Business, chair of the Department of Management, chair of the Doctoral Program Policy Committee and director of the Center for Human Resource Management.

“Pam has been a trailblazer at FSU for longer than I can remember,” said Michael Brady, FSU’s Carl DeSantis professor and chair of the Department of Marketing. “She entered a male-dominated discipline and thrived at a time when it was very difficult to do so.”

Perrewé has devoted much of her professional energy to talking and writing about the ingredients for career success: persevering, fully engaging in assignments, being creative, taking on new and different challenges and leading with a selfless attitude. At the same time, she’s walked the walk and followed her own advice. It helps if you love your work, and Pam Perrewé proudly professes her love for FSU.

“Florida State has given me every opportunity in my career,” she said. “I tell my doctoral students, ‘You can be whoever you want.’ It’s called job crafting — craft the job you want. Create your own niche. If you’re talented in certain areas, or passionate about them, you can job craft. That’s what I’ve done, but mainly, Florida State has allowed me to do that. They’ve supported me and made it a priority to help me be successful.”

Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business, is one leader who has created an environment to help faculty members like Perrewé succeed.

“The College of Business family is thrilled Pam has been chosen for this honor,” Hartline said. “Pam is a remarkable scholar and educator who has set a clear example of how to excel at the highest level. She has distinguished herself on many fronts, and we are incredibly proud of her and her accomplishments.”

The honor is sweet for Perrewé because of her deep admiration for her longtime friend and colleague, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School Nancy Marcus, who died in February following a 30-year career at Florida State. Marcus received the Lawton award in 2001. She gave a talk that was not only unforgettable for its smarts and humor, Marcus’ words inspired Perrewé and created indelible memories that have encouraged, energized and made her laugh over the years, especially now.

“Nancy was my real inspiration with the Lawton award and because of her genius, her amazing example, that’s why the Lawton award is even more important,” Perrewé said. “Hers was the first Lawton talk I ever saw, and do you know what she did at the end of her presentation? She did dadgum magic tricks!”

Perrewé is the first faculty member of FSU’s College of Business to win the Lawton award, which dates back to 1957. It was called the Distinguished Professor award until 1981, when it was renamed in honor of the late Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert O. Lawton. Perrewé will give her Lawton talk later this year, but she’s forewarning folks not to expect magic tricks.

To view a list of all Lawton Distinguished Professors, visit