Tom Pappas receives the Outstanding New Academic Advisor Award

Monday, March 7, 2022

College of Arts and Sciences advisor, Tom Pappas, has recently received the Outstanding New Academic Advisor Award. Tom is the advisor for LAMP’s Management and Human Organization (MHO) students, and as a department, we are very grateful for all the coaching and support that he provides our students with. Below we have included a brief interview between Tom and Gabriella Rami, one of our interns and MHO students. We’ve also included a few words about him from an MHO student, a LAMP Honors Certificate student, and our Program Director, Professor Spang.

Learn more about Tom and his love for his students:

How did you originally become an advisor?

Way back in 2019, I was working on my dissertation as a graduate student, and I had not availed myself of the excellent career services available at the Walter Center.  Trying to go it alone, which I do not advise doing, I looked for jobs at IU because I love the students and the atmosphere of a large university.  I stumbled across a posting for a College Academic Advisor and a different posting about a Kelley Academic Advisor.  I applied for both and interviewed for both, but I could not answer Kelley’s seemingly innocuous question, “Why do you want to advise business students?”  That is a completely routine question, but I had no good answer for it.  I still don’t.  When I was asked the same question but about College students in my College advising interview, I gave a soliloquy for over 10 minutes.  They had to ask me to stop talking.  Clearly, my heart is with the College, and I was fortunate enough to be hired.  I’m sure the College regrets that decision every day.

What is your favorite thing about advising in the College of Arts and Sciences?

The students.  No question.  You all are simply amazing.  Never before in the history of education have we, being a university or an instructor, asked for so much from so many students for so long.  There have been pandemics and illness over the course of history, and society has buckled or moved on with tremendous loss.  Only recently, however, have we had the technology to keep classes going during a global pandemic while keeping most people safe.  We asked you to immediately switch from the in-person learning that you have done since childhood to a new medium and succeed in your courses.  We asked you to keep learning that way for the foreseeable future.  Then, when you had finally mastered online learning, we told you to come back and relearn how to learn from a desk, and you succeeded.  You have persevered.  You are amazing.

I could not have done what you did. 

What is your favorite thing about advising for MHO students?

I advise for 7 departments/credentials now, and the MHO students are my adventurous bunch.  You don’t necessarily know where the path will lead, but you embody the goals of a Liberal Arts education by combining so many different disciplines through the lens of business.  You are harvesting the best parts of a business education and merging that knowledge with the myriad of perspectives that the College offers. When I meet with you, an MHO student, you don’t see it, but I can see the capes you wear.  You are the superheroes of the Liberal Arts community to me because you go into the Legion of Kelley or O’Neill and show those students the truth – that Liberal Arts was the past of education, is the best of education, and will be the only true education.

When you’re not advising or at home with your children, do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they?

Hobbies, eh?  I’ve heard of those but not had much time since I am working on a dissertation.  Other than that leviathan that needs to be slayed, I have been known to bake and decorate cakes for staff meetings or birthdays.  I’ve done Elmo, Darth Vader, Tom Brady jersey, “rainbow unicorn,” which is a unicorn with a rainbow mane on a rainbow, and, for a staff party, a Cookie Monster holding a cup of coffee with the College emblem.  My spouse has a delicious chocolate cake recipe, and I find decorating the cakes to be relaxing and therapeutic.  My spouse and I also have a 686-day streak on the New York Times crossword that we fastidiously work on. We also watch shows on various streaming services in the evenings; we’re always looking for the next binge.

What is your favorite restaurant in Bloomington? What are your favorite activities to do in Bloomington or on IU’s campus?

My favorite restaurant in Bloomington was Grazie Italiano because that was where my spouse and I got dinner after I proposed to her.  Now though I can be seen getting sushi from Sakura 15 or Sushi Bar since I live on the east side.  Sometimes, my colleagues and I will slip out to Siam House though for a working lunch.  Being a graduate student forced me to learn how to cook, so I frequently enjoy just staying in and making a meal.

My favorite activities include walking around campus to clear my head, throwing snowballs at Hodge Hall, and being self-deprecating in that truly midwestern style.  In the before times, I would try to catch a show or two per season at the IU Theater or go see some baseball/softball games, but Bloomington is a special place that can attract world-class talent for performances at more reasonable prices than Chicago or New York.  It’s a heck of a town.

Final Words:

I would not be the person I am today without you, the students.  While my peers taught me how to do the day-to-day parts of this job, MHO students have taught me how to be a better person by your examples.  Winning an award is fine, but I am truly honored that I get to know you for at least a small part of your extraordinary lives.  Thank you for being who are you and for letting me know you for a few years.


“When first joining the M+HO major my second semester freshman year, Mr. Pappas made me feel extremely welcomed and at home. My meetings and Zoom calls with Mr. Pappas were always something that I looked forward to, as we would not only discuss the classes which I still needed to complete in order to graduate, but he would make sure to check in on me and my mental health as a student. Mr. Pappas has set me up for success after graduation, and I am very thankful to him for that. I would not have been able to complete my college course load without his help! Congratulations!” – Gabriella Rami (M+HO Student)

"Mr. Pappas is an amazing and hard-working advisor. Despite being one of the advisors with the highest workload, he has always strived towards helping students, like me, thoroughly. He has played a definite role in shaping my career through his personalized advice and deep subject matter knowledge. A well-deserved award, and the first of many more to come" – Sri Chakri Pamidi (LAMP Honors Certificate Student)

“Faculty and staff appreciate Tom enormously, but so too do students, who invariably report that he is understanding, friendly, and helpful. Whatever their concerns—from routine scheduling issues to complicated health, financial, and family problems—Tom does his best to help.” – Professor Spang (LAMP Program Director)