James L. Peterson Announces Plans to Retire in ’08

Posted on August 16th, 2007 by

Dr. James L. Peterson

Dr. James L. Peterson

Dr. James L. Peterson, the 14th President of Gustavus Adolphus College, informed the Board of Trustees this morning of his decision to retire at the conclusion of the 2008 academic year, capping a five year term as President of the College. Peterson, 64, will serve through June 2008, and has offered to assist in an orderly transition beyond that date if needed.

“The opportunity to serve as president of my alma mater has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life, both personally and professionally,” Peterson said. “I am so grateful for that opportunity and am continually greatly impressed with the many, varied, and committed constituents I have been blessed to work with at this great college.”

James Gale, Chair of the Gustavus Board of Trustees said, “Dr. Peterson has been an outstanding leader of the College and has accomplished a great deal since assuming office in July 2003. Jim has led the institution into an exciting new strategic direction and has built a very strong administrative team. He has enhanced the academic reputation of Gustavus while achieving record financial benchmarks in operations, fundraising, and endowment. Jim Peterson will leave Gustavus Adolphus College in very good shape and his continued leadership this next year will be critical as we move forward.”

Peterson became the college’s president after a long and successful tenure as president and CEO at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Under his leadership, the museum opened a new $100 million facility on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul in 1999.

A 1964 Gustavus alumnus, Peterson began his career as a high school science teacher. He taught in Peoria, Ill., and Osseo, Minn., before leaving to pursue a doctorate, which he received in entomology in 1972 from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. After receiving his Ph.D., Peterson served as a research associate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for two years. Peterson then made the transition to the National Commission on Water Quality in Washington D.C., where he was a staff ecologist. From 1976-1984, Peterson served as vice president in the areas of systematics and evolutionary biology, environmental research, and institutional advancement at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Gale indicated that he will ask the Board immediately to initiate a nationwide Presidential search. “We are grateful that Jim is giving the College enough lead time to undertake a thorough search process and will assist in a smooth transition to new leadership,” Gale said. “On behalf of the entire Gustavus community, I want to extend our deepest appreciation and best wishes to Jim for his many significant contributions, leadership, and thoughtful guidance during his term as President.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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