Hawaiian Shirts and Santa Suits…Not Your Typical Business Attire

CoB faculty member Mike Pearson, Ph.D., displays his relaxed attitude.
CoB faculty member Mike Pearson, Ph.D., displays his relaxed attitude.

Mike Pearson, Ph.D., is not shy about his likeness to Santa Claus. In fact, he is, on occasion, prompted to put on a full Santa suit for a local New Orleans organization. But during his day job at the College of Business, Pearson is more likely to be spotted because he is wearing one of his more than 100 Hawaiian shirts. As Pearson says, “shirts, ties, and suits are just too uncomfortable. Why not relax and enjoy life?”

His low-keyed personality is his signature, but music is a passion. Want to know about a local musician or one from out of town? Ask Pearson. He and his wife, Gayle (she gives tours of local cemeteries), are ambassadors for the New Orleans way of life. They both get the food, music, and culture of New Orleans—so much so, you rarely hear about his days as a faculty member at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (1971 – 1994).

However, his semester as visiting faculty at the University of Hawaii, Hilo (fall 1982), brings back fond stories of class in the morning, golf in the afternoon, and a fine dinner in the evening. Maybe the four-month Hawaiian gig was where Pearson adapted one of his signature traits—wearing flowered shirts almost all the time.

On the professional front, Pearson has spent his career teaching and researching various aspects of retail management. His most current research comes from his sabbatical leave where he did a research study of the effects of national catastrophes in the retail institutions in the area. Of course, he had a fertile retail research field in post-Katrina New Orleans, but he extended his work to other areas as well.

In addition to the retail work, Pearson has published a number of papers on computerized teaching techniques in the areas of spreadsheet pricing shortages, retail site locations, distribution decisions, and in-basket exercise for classroom use.

As one might guess, Pearson (and Gayle) keeps very busy playing Santa Claus (with and without a Hawaiian shirt) and cemetery tour guiding. But, a great meal at Commander’s or an outstanding music venue is surely to get a rousing “Ho, Ho, Ho” from Pearson, as well as Gayle.

Check out Pearson's latest research on New Orleans retail post-Katrina.

View the complete spring 2012 issue of Loyola Executive.

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