This archived article was written by: Chris Barney
Meet Peter Iyere, Ph.D., the newest addition to administration at USU Eastern. With more than 20 years of experience as a professor and dean, under his belt, Iyere comes to Eastern already ambitious. He recently arrived in Price with his wife, and is the father of four daughters, all of who are continuing their studies across the country.
He was born in Western Nigeria, where Iyere spoke his native dialect, Esan. It was through education that he and many others from his country gain their proficiency in English. Esan is a minority dialect from his village. When his father gave him his first novel, he (his father) insisted on hearing the story read in his dialect. His father loved the story so much as to purchase five more novels, which the young Iyere read and translated in one week. His father, who never attended higher education, made it a priority to raise his son in this way, thereby cultivating success. Growing up in Nigeria, his passion was “football.” “I would play soccer during the day, return home and be studying into the night.” His father had a substantial impact on who Iyere is today, giving him an impressive ability to recall and remember all that he studies.
After completing a master’s degree in analytical chemistry in Nigeria, he became the founding professor of chemistry at Ondo State University, also in his mother country. There, he began with only 7 students, 4 of which went on to obtain doctorates in their given field. Today, the program he founded 30 years ago boasts an enrollment of over 2000. His leaving a legacy is a habit already developed.
Prior to moving to Price, he candidly states; “I’ve been everywhere.” The opportunity was presented to him in the early ‘80s to study in the United States, and he quickly accepted, with aspirations already in mind. He arrived first in Boston, with paid tuition, room-and-board to boot. While in Waltham, Mass., he worked hard to obtain a Masters and Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Brandeis University.
Then, with his degree in hand, his teaching took him first to Tennessee State University. There he taught for 11 years. Packaged with plenty of teaching experience, Iyere headed for the University of Arkansas as head of the department of chemistry and physics.
Other stops he made along the way include Chapman University in Orange, Calif., Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana (as dean of the math and science divisions), and Bryan College of Health Sciences in Lincoln, Nebraska. There, he was the dean of general studies shortly before coming to USU Eastern.
His impact on students continues to ripple through time. Once, he presided over a general chemistry class for non-chemistry majors. One of his favorite pupils, with hard work and coaching from Iyere, went on to obtain his a medical degree, becoming a successful physician.
At USU Eastern, Iyere serves as vice chancellor for student success. His responsibility is to ensure a quality education for all students. He aims to decrease attrition, helping students from diverse backgrounds complete their desired
degrees. As a “first-generation graduate,” he is passionate about the success of the students at Eastern. He openly invites all to visit him in the office and hear his story, warmly welcoming students; “Let’s talk.”
Iyere is a pro-active leader. His goals include; “To be the best in what I do through my relentless pursuit of excellence in student success… promote inclusive excellence and internationalization of the culture and curriculum at Eastern… and be the spark that ignites insatiable desire for knowledge and achievement in students.” Maybe such can be attributed to his many collegiate degrees. Or maybe it comes from his past, back home in Nigeria. There, his father taught him through simple means, how to work hard and remember his roots. After all, “Iyere” in Esan does mean, “I Remember.”