Associate Provost Paula Lawson passed away suddenly on Sunday, according to an all-campus e-mail sent Monday morning by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and Professor of Chemistry Joseph W. Bruno. The cause of her death has not been publicly revealed.
“The Academic Affairs staff came together as a group this morning to discuss Paula’s passing and all she’s meant to us as a colleague and a friend,” Bruno wrote in a separate e-mail on Monday. “We are all devastated, both personally and professionally, and it is hard to accept this. Many colleagues from across the campus have called or written to tell us that they feel the same way. All of us will miss her tremendously.”
Lawson, who first came to the University in 1996 as Assistant Provost, was committed to students and faculty on campus. She used her knowledge and experience in academia to strengthen Academic Affairs, working intimately with Class Deans, Faculty Advisors, and the faculty Educational Policy Committee on academic advising. Lawson also committed herself to helping manage the instructional budget and ensuring that departmental resources were efficiently distributed so that students were always offered classes they both needed and wanted.
“It’s impossible to do justice to all of Paula’s work, or to list the many colleagues who found her to be an outstanding liaison from the Office of Academic Affairs,” Bruno said.
Bruno expressed admiration for Lawson, reflecting upon her reliability and sagacity as essential to the department and to the University.
“When I became Dean of Natural Sciences in 2003, my predecessor, Professor Laura Grabel, told me that I should memorize Paula’s extension because Paula would play a key role in ensuring my success as Dean,” he said. “I learned quickly how sound that advice was.”
Details of Lawson’s funeral service will be announced as soon as they are available. She is survived by her husband Rich and son Jack.
“We will all miss Paula as a trusted advisor, dedicated colleague, and loyal friend,” Bruno said.