Plymouth State University Awards Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Former Governor Walter Peterson

May 19th, 2011 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-
One of the Granite State’s most beloved political, business, and educational leaders has been recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Plymouth State University. Governor Walter Rutherford Peterson received the award April 23 in a ceremony at his home.

Walter Peterson
Plymouth State University awarded former N.H. Governor and USNH Trustee Walter Peterson an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at an April 23 ceremony

The degree was conferred by PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, with University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Edward R. MacKay and PSU Provost Julie N. Bernier. Peterson received his doctoral hood from his daughter, PSU distinguished professor of English Meg J. Petersen.

“Governor Peterson is a trusted and admired leader, a public servant in the most noble sense,” said Steen. “He has been an untiring and inspiring champion of higher education, because he believes in education’s transformative power.”

In accepting the doctorate, Governor Peterson said that he was “deeply honored” and spoke of his career and good friends and of the contributions of his wife, Dorothy.

Born in Nashua, Peterson attended New Hampton School, the University of New Hampshire, and Dartmouth College. His college career was interrupted by World War II, when he served as a US Naval Reserve officer in the South Pacific. After graduating from Dartmouth, he entered his family’s real estate business in Peterborough.

Peterson served eight years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, including four as speaker, and two consecutive terms as Governor of New Hampshire, from 1969 to 1973. He has been dedicated to higher education as president of Franklin Pierce University, as interim president of the University of New Hampshire, and as a sixteen-year member of the Board of Trustees of the University System of New Hampshire.

“As a trustee, Governor Peterson could be relied upon to put students first, to focus on access, affordability, and student success,” said Steen. “He is a role model of engaged and committed leadership, of courage and generosity of spirit.”

As governor, Peterson endorsed legislation that advanced the state’s system of vocational institutes, then later served as the interim commissioner of the system and a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2009 he was named the first trustee emeritus of the new Community College System of New Hampshire.

Chancellor MacKay described Peterson as a mentor, to him and to many others in New Hampshire. “His impact has been enormous.”

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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