Human Resources is about putting people first and protecting them, which you do through leadership, culture, and HR systems.” These are the words of Larry Pearlman, a School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) alumnus and adjunct professor.

Larry Pearlman, AM 89, serves as Senior Vice President at Marsh Advisory and a board member for Technology Publishing Company. A Chicago native, he and his wife, Lisa, live in the Raleigh area where he enjoys spending time with his dog Maggy, traveling, and spreading his love of trains through his photography. He is so passionate about trains that he is a director and volunteer at the East Troy Electric Railroad Museum.

After obtaining a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Iowa, Larry decided to attend LER on the recommendation of one of his professors, Jack Fiorito. He fell in love with the culture and opportunities that the then-Institute provided. Larry’s class was only 15 students, a close-knit and caring group, which contributed to a great and memorable experience.

Larry’s experience at Illinois led him to remain involved in LER. He served as president of the alumni board for several years. Later, he became an adjunct professor at LER, teaching in Champaign. When he moved to Raleigh, he switched to teaching in the online program. His change management course, taught with Steve Merkin, was highly revered by students, due to their philosophy of treating the course as a business experience. He develops relationships with his former and current students to support them as others supported him.

Larry, AM 89, and his wife Lisa

These experiences led him and his wife, Lisa, to create the Pearlman Family Leadership Scholarship Fund, featuring a $5,000 annual gift for a student scholarship.  Preference is given to students that have shown leadership during their undergraduate years, including leadership in student government, politics, nonprofit organizations or student organizations. An endowment gift will be provided to continue the scholarship in perpetuity. Larry chose to focus on leadership because he believes that HR professionals play significant roles as servant leaders in their organizations.

When asked what motivated his family to give back, Larry said “I look at the skills that I gained at LER and realize where it led me. What better way to honor a legacy than to provide a scholarship? Students blink and they are alumni. The time to think about giving back should be as soon as students enroll.” He commends LER for providing a smooth process for alumni to establish a scholarship.

In addition to supporting students financially, he also frequently gifts his time and talents to LER. Always willing to meet and share his wisdom with students, Larry represented his 1989 graduating class as their student commencement speaker, as well as being the alumni commencement speaker for the Classes of 2009 and 2021.

Larry was also recognized for his success and dedication to LER by being named the 2016 Distinguished Alumni of the Year, alongside his colleague and teaching partner, Steve Merkin, AM 83. He has been recognized by the University for his commitment to our campus with the Constituent Leadership Award in 2006. We are thankful for “LERry” and his family, and their continuous support for current and former students.

To learn more about supporting student scholarship opportunities, please contact Cory Hatfield at or 217-300-2056.