Gustavus Announces $10 Million Commitment From Transportation Entrepreneur

The commitment includes $5 million in challenge funding for the Nobel Hall of Science and $5 million for National Merit Scholars.
Posted on January 15th, 2018 by

Bob '74 and Cindy Peterson

A $10 million commitment from Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus Bob Peterson ’74 and his wife, Cindy, will provide funding for the expansion and renovation of the Nobel Hall of Science, which will break ground this spring, along with dedicated endowment funds that will allow the College to pursue the strongest academic students in the nation.

The gift commitment will provide a $5 million challenge fund to help raise the final gifts needed for the Nobel Hall of Science expansion and renovation project. Once the dollar-for-dollar challenge is met, a second $5 million commitment will be remitted to an endowment to support scholarships for National Merit Scholars.

“The Petersons’ generosity and vision ensure that Gustavus will continue to attract the most talented incoming students and provide them with the facilities and support they need to become professional, civic, and scientific leaders who inspire transformational change in the 21st century,” Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman said.

“There’s a momentum at Gustavus right now that’s exciting,” Peterson said. “I see positive things going on there every day and we’re privileged to be in a position to be a part of it.”

A rendering of the future lobby between the Nobel Hall of Science and Anderson Theatre.

The first half of the gift commitment will be directed to the Nobel Hall of Science expansion and renovation project, an ambitious $70 million undertaking that will nearly double the size of the College’s laboratory science building and create a connection to Anderson Theatre to emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning.

Once the Nobel challenge is met with additional funding, the second $5 million will be directed to the Robert A. Peterson Distinguished Student Scholarship Fund, which the couple established in 2014 with a separate $1 million gift.

“This generous gift further solidifies our commitment to recruiting and supporting elite students,” Vice President for Advancement Thomas W. Young ’88 said. “Between top-tier scholarship funding and facilities that will be on par with the best in the nation, Gustavus will continue to prepare bright students for success well into the future.”

“We’re pleased to help close fundraising for the Nobel Hall project, but even happier to support high-caliber academics at the College through the National Merit Scholar program,” Peterson said. “To me, the Gustavus community is built around hardworking, dedicated faculty and staff with an overwhelming sense of commitment to students. Together, we can make a difference.”

Peterson, known by most of his Gustavus friends and classmates as “Stick” due to his slim build as an 18-year old freshman, graduated from Gustavus in 1974 with degrees in economics and environmental studies. After working for two years in the College’s business office, Peterson went on to earn his MBA in accounting at the University of Southern California. He worked for several years in public accounting, private bank management, and venture capital before entering the transportation industry. Since 1991, he has served as President and CEO of Melton Truck Lines, Inc., which started with 30 rented trucks and has grown to become one of the nation’s leading flatbed trucking companies, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The $10 million commitment will push Gustavus to over $75 million raised since July in support of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, the College’s 10-year vision to equip students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time through an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence.


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


One Comment

  1. Beate Hein Bennett says:

    This donation to the Nobel Hall is spectacular indeed. As a Gustavus alumna ’67 (B.A. English and Theater) whose attendance at Gustavus (1964-67) as a foreign student from Germany was largely due to the support of the Bernadotte Scholarship and the sponsorship of Nobel Laureate Prof. Philip S. Hench, I am particularly pleased about the idea of physically connecting Nobel Hall and Anderson Theater. Since science and the arts have been intricately linked throughout my family’s (and my) history, as a teacher I have always promoted the idea of the common creative spark that moves science and the arts towards the highest achievements, albeit with different processes and outcomes. My father, Dr. Franz Karl Hein, together with Count Lennart Bernadotte, and another physician, Prof. Gustavus Parade, founded the Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany in 1951–Prof. Hench came for the first time in 1957–and I grew up with this yearly event that is going strong for the past 67 years. Every year young researchers from all over the world interact with Nobel scientists and each other for a week. I remember the first Gustavus Nobel Conference in 1964 with Polykarp Kusch. And I remember my beloved theater professor, Evelyn Anderson, a most erudite and elegant lady and superb teacher. So, the Nobel-Anderson connection has a special meaning for me.