“Role models.” “Great contributors.” “Friends.” Those are just a fraction of the descriptions Harbert College of Business faculty and friends gave toward Achilles Armenakis, Bill Sauser and Junior Feild, who retired after the Spring 2015 semester after 122 years of collective work at Auburn University.
The three management professors were honored with luncheons and parties – complete with “Emeritus” statuses bestowed upon them by Dean and Wells Fargo Professor Bill Hardgrave. Collectively, the professors’ research has been cited nearly 15,000 times.
“All three of men served as role models in the college throughout their careers,” said C.G. Mills Professor Kevin Mossholder, who has worked as their colleague for years. “Bill’s service commitment to the university and community, Junior’s scholarship in human resources and research methods, and Achilles’ thought leadership among academicians and practitioners of organizational change were constant and truly exemplary for their colleagues and students alike.”
Armenakis, the James T. Pursell Eminent Scholar, came to Auburn in 1973 and most recently directed Harbert College’s Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” he told friends. “I owe thanks to all of you. I have had the kind of career that I dreamed of having. I attribute that to the people I worked with and our Ph.D. students – you were my mentors. It’s the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new chapter. We’ve got five new projects under way. I will continue to be active in the Ph.D. program.
Field, Torchmark Professor of Management, who also came to Auburn in 1973, reiterated Armenakis’ plan to keep researching.
“I’ll miss the students, the faculty and administration in the College of Business,” he said. “I’m going to carry on with research. We’ll do it together. In fact, we’re meeting after lunch.”
He wasn’t kidding. Feild and Armenakis were indeed preparing to work on another research paper with a graduate student.
Sauser, who came to Auburn in 1977 and worked in a variety of capacities, said he will miss driving his 1988 Nissan 300ZX – decked out with Auburn Tiger flags and bumper stickers – around campus looking for a place to park.
“I am optimistic about the future of the Department of Management, the Harbert College of Business, and Auburn University,” said Sauser, who earned the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Humanitarian Award in 2014. “There has been a lot of growth and change over the years, but I am convinced that the best is yet to come.
“I was told when interviewing for my first job at Auburn that I would quickly come to love it here. That certainly has been the case. Auburn is a fine community in which to live, work and interact with all kinds of interesting people. My wife, Lane, and I will continue to live in Auburn and enjoy the ambience of this great university town.”
Chris Shook, Management Department Head and Russell Professor, said the college has “big shoes to fill.”
“Each of them contributed in major ways, but all contributed in unique ways,” he said. “Bill Sauser served the department, college, university, the community and state in a variety of ways and was the College of Business’ ambassador to the rest of the campus. Achilles and Junior were huge proponents of the Ph.D. program, and we likely would not have a Ph.D. program in the college if not for them. The large number of Ph.D. students who came back to their retirement festivities is a testament to their impact on the discipline. All three will be greatly missed.”