This archived article was written by: Emma Campbell
“I’m going to clean out my garage or throw in a gallon of gas and a match,” Chancellor Peterson jokes when asked what he is going to do after retirement.
Peterson has been chancellor of Utah State University Eastern eight years and worked at universities for 38. His last day will be June 30 with Gary Straquadine taking over the position of interim chancellor until a new one is announced after a nationwide search is concluded.
The reason for Peterson’s retirement is the amount of great ideas out there and the many people who can implement them. “It’s their turn,” he said.
He has many plans when he retires, such as restoring an old house in St. George he inherited. He also owns an old condominium in St. George and plans on restoring it as well.
“My wife is addicted to grandchildren,” that’s why Peterson believes he will end up staying in St. George. One of the items on the chancellor’s bucket list is to live in Latin America. He thinks he will be a snowbird, live in Latin America for six months during the winter.
His proudest accomplishment is expanding the menu for Southeastern Utah. Peterson said, “I’m very happy about the number of junior and senior level students we have here at USU Eastern”.
He is sad to be leaving his career and will miss the atmosphere that the students create as they search for their future goals. While students in college have just left their families they grew up with, they have yet to find the families they will be with for the rest of their lives.
They’re asking one big question that leads to several smaller questions. What kind
of person am I? What do I want my contribution to the world to be? What are my fundamental values? Who are my best friends, romantic interests and who do I want to spend the rest of my life with?
“I’ve been in the middle of different generations going through all these questions,” Peterson said.
He leaves students with three transformations that USU Eastern specializes in. The first transformation, is from an undecided student, to a decided one. Eastern helps students become prepared and decide on what they want to do. “Our campus does this better than anyone else,” he said.
The second transformation is from an unskilled young adult to a skilled adult. “A lot of people say education should not be about getting a job, but it should be something about getting a job,” he explains. Students will go from underemployed to employed.
The third, and final transformation, is the decision to go from the lower division to upper division. Some students don’t start with the goal of getting a four-year degree. While at Eastern, students and that goal of getting a bachelor’s degree. “Students on our campus make the decision to move on to the upper division,” Peterson said