Tom Petway’s life is a classically American story. The captain of the Terry Parker High School football team dated Elizabeth Piersol, a cheerleader who became his wife of 58 years and the nucleus of his family. Petway graduated from Florida State University, built a business, has actively given back to his community, charities, high school and alma mater.
In the midst of all this, Petway was a key figure in attracting a National Football League team – the Jacksonville Jaguars — to his hometown against prohibitive odds and managed to find the time and the resources to help build Seminole football into a national power.
The Petways’ most-recent gift of $1 million, was received immediately after receiving a letter from President John Thrasher explaining the Renaissance Campaign’s need to invest in the future of Seminole football. I understand the process and have compassion for the university’s need and just want to help my university and longtime friend John Thrasher, Petway said.
Petway is excited about the future of FSU football under the guidance of Mike Norvell who Betty and he first met at a dinner at President Thrasher’s home.
He has PMA — a positive mental attitude – and when you have a positive mental attitude you have won half the battle, Petway said. He knows what he wants and how to go about getting it.
Petway credits President Thrasher, Athletic Director David Coburn and FSU Board of Trustees Chairman Ed Burr with finding the right guy at the right time.
Betty and I are proud to support FSU, our good friend President John Thrasher and the Renaissance Campaign, Petway said.
I’ve known Tom Petway for about 40 years. He is a good friend and someone I have long admired, said Florida State University President John Thrasher. It didn’t surprise me that he was one of the first to answer the call when we launched our campaign. He and Betty love Florida State and are passionate Seminole fans.
Described by many as a Great American, Petway is an easy interview. Humble. Polite. Matter of fact. As he details his journey, he does so as if he’s the most blessed man breathing.
Betty, the love of his life, attended Florida State University where she was active in the FSU Circus while Tom was active with Sigma Chi. Tom and Betty married in 1961 and lived in Alumni Village. In 1962 Tom graduated with a general business degree and started a career with USF&G Insurance as a trainee in Jacksonville.