Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, Dr. Marvin Peterson, doubles the impact of the fund named in his honor

August 02, 2022

The Marvin W. Peterson Endowed Fellowship Fund supports PhD students whose research focuses on issues of organizational behavior, management, planning, and institutional research within a higher education context, reflective of Peterson's own teaching and research foci. Since its creation 15 years ago, many students have benefited from the Peterson fund.  

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Dr. Marvin Peterson
Dr. Marvin Peterson

Professor Peterson has the distinction of being the longest serving faculty member and longest serving director in CSHPE. At the time of his retirement in 2007, Dr. Peterson’s colleagues and former students came together to show their regard of his esteemed career and appreciation for his mentorship by creating an endowed fellowship in his name. Many alumni continue to honor their former instructor, advisor, and program director (1976-96) through contributions to the fellowship.

The Marvin W. Peterson Endowed Fellowship Fund supports PhD students whose research focuses on issues of organizational behavior, management, planning and institutional research within a higher education context, reflective of Peterson's own teaching and research foci.

Dr. Peterson and colleague
Dr. Peterson with an SOE colleague

Recently, Dr. Peterson himself made a generous contribution that doubled the original fund. Of this decision, he said, “The intent is to support doctoral students in pursuing significant research and other scholarly and professional activities during their doctoral program.” He recalls chairing 110 doctoral student dissertations and serving on many more as his most fulfilling aspect of his years at the Center.

Since its creation 15 years ago, many students have benefited from the Peterson fund. One recent recipient is doctoral candidate Sooji Kim. In her dissertation, Sooji takes a deep dive into work-study practices for undergraduate students—an understudied phenomenon due to the lack of detailed institutional data. Her research seeks to provide support for reforms that are desperately needed at the federal level by offering a better understanding of the benefits and costs of work-study for low-income and racially minoritized students.

Sooji Kim
Sooji Kim

Reflecting about her receipt of support from the Marvin W. Peterson fund, Sooji enthusiastically commented, “Dr. Peterson made such a great impact on me. I still remember the day I received the fellowship, and learned of Dr. Peterson’s prominence as a pioneering scholar in the realm of organizational studies in higher education, which I deeply appreciated. Receipt of the fellowship was therefore not only an honor, but it also made me feel that my intellectual interests in and passion for studying universities and colleges as complex organizations were acknowledged, motivated, and supported. Most importantly, the fellowship allowed me to collect data that consisted of unprecedented knowledge and information for my dissertation on the federal work-study program. I found my place in higher education because of his work and receiving the award named in his honor allowed me to pursue new knowledge and contribute to higher education.” 

When told of Dr. Peterson’s own recent contribution to the Peterson endowed fellowship, she shared, “The fellowship support enabled me to examine unexplored, unanswered questions and to bring about evidence-based, applicable, and important implications for federal work-study. I am very grateful for Dr. Peterson’s generosity as well as the academic pathways and opportunities he has paved.” 

CSHPE students, like Sooji, benefit from the actions of the many donors and alumni whose giving priorities and strategies include the Center. Dr. Peterson, and fellow contributors to the fund in his name, make possible innovative research that continues to advance and expand the thinking about issues of higher education organizational behavior and management. 

Read more about Dr. Peterson, and is his long and illustrious career here.