Peterson Accepts Interim President Position at Northland College

Posted on May 11th, 2009 by

James L. Peterson

James L. Peterson

Former Gustavus Adolphus College President James L. Peterson ’64 has been named Interim President at Northland College in Ashland, Wis. Peterson will serve in the role until the college completes a search to replace outgoing President Karen I. Halbersleben, who declined a contract extension earlier this month.

Northland asserts itself as a college that integrates liberal arts studies with an environmental emphasis, enabling those it serves to address the challenges of the future. Initially founded as the North Wisconsin Academy in 1892, the college was established in 1906. The college currently enrolls approximately 700 undergraduate students and employs approximately 80 faculty members.

In a news release issued by Northland, John N. Allen, Chair of the Northland Board of Trustees said, “There are several reasons President Peterson is an outstanding choice to maintain Northland College’s momentum during this time of leadership transition and economic challenge. His background as an environmental scientist is a perfect match with Northland’s environmental mission, and he is a proven leader in the best liberal arts college tradition. Further, his personal relationships with business and civic leaders in the Twin Cities gained during his leadership of the Science Museum of Minnesota will be an invaluable asset.”

Peterson served as Gustavus’s 15th president from 2003 to 2008 after a long and successful tenure as president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Highlights from his tenure at Gustavus include the creation of both the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning and the Glen and LaVonne Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation; the construction of a new 2,500-seat football stadium; the renovation of athletic fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and track and field; the College’s endowment value surpassing $100 million for the first time; and a new provost-led academic leadership model.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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