Lands' End CEO Jerome Griffith to receive 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Smeal College of Business graduate Jerome Griffith was one of eight alumni selected to receive the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Jerome Griffith, CEO, president and member of the board of directors at Lands' End, has more than 40 years of retail and apparel experience, most in executive positions. Credit: Photo providedAll Rights Reserved.

Due to the pandemic, the Board of Trustees office postponed the 2020 celebration. Griffith will accept his award on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Griffith has more than 40 years of retail and apparel experience. He joined Lands’ End Inc. as chief executive officer, president and member of its board of directors in 2016. Prior to that, he was chief executive officer, president and director of Tumi Holdings Inc., a high-end luggage company that was sold to Samsonite International S.A. in 2016.

He also was employed at Esprit Holdings Limited, a global fashion brand, where he was promoted to chief operating officer and board member in 2004 and was later promoted to president of Esprit North and South America.

Prior to his work with Esprit, he was executive vice president at apparel and retail company Tommy Hilfiger, president of retail at J. Peterman Company, and held various positions of increasing responsibility at Gap Inc.

“I think my parents were incredibly proud of me,” Griffith said. “I was the first in our family to attend college. Even though I applied late, I was fortunate to receive a scholarship based upon need. I knew I was lucky, and I never wanted to disappoint them.”

Dean Charles H. Whiteman said that Griffith’s career achievements, volunteerism and philanthropy have brought great prestige to the University.

“Jerome is a very deserving recipient of this honor. He has impeccable character, which helps make him one of the most influential retail executives in the country,” Whiteman said. “His attitude and way of thinking resonate with our students. As a former scholarship recipient himself, he understands the life-changing impact our alumni and friends can make, and he is committed to paying that forward.”

Griffith has been a member of the Smeal College Board of Visitors since 2019 and was named a Presidential Counselor the following year.

He and his wife, Elke, created the H. Bennett and Beatrice Squire Griffith Trustee Matching Scholarship in 2011 to honor his parents. He also established a scholarship for students at Oxford Area High School, his high school alma mater.

Griffith was given the Distinguished Alumni Award from Oxford Area High School in 2012, and he was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 2015.

Despite his accolades, Griffith said that he doesn’t see himself as distinguished.

“I’ve always believed that the qualities of honesty, hard work and perseverance win in the long run,” he said. “These are the characteristics Penn State instills in its students. I always know our students and graduates will try harder, work more diligently and go farther than their peers and I am proud to represent that legacy.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the University, and I hope I can continue to be deserving of this recognition in my future endeavors.”

The Distinguished Alumni Awards were authorized by the Board of Trustees in 1951. The principal purpose of the awards is to recognize and salute the achievements of outstanding alumni “whose personal life, professional achievements, and community service exemplify the objectives of The Pennsylvania State University.” Alumni are selected annually for this honor by the Board of Trustees from a group of candidates recommended by the trustees, faculty, staff and alumni.

Last Updated October 21, 2021