CITY, S.D. (May 5, 2014) – Howard Peterson, former Dean of Students at the
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, died Sunday at the age of 85.
known as “Dean Pete” by students and colleagues alike, Peterson is remembered
for his more than five decades of devotion to the School of Mines. A 1950 alumnus, he served at the university
from 1957-1992, first as assistant and associate dean, then as dean of students
for the last 23 years of his career. Even
after his retirement, Peterson remained a fixture around campus and visited
students often in the Surbeck Center, the student union at Mines.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 402 Kansas City St., followed by a lunch. Burial will be at Mountain View Cemetery.
as a scholarship coach, Theta Tau fraternity advisor or in his capacity as
dean, Peterson was a beloved mentor to thousands of students over five decades.
In 2004, a residence hall was named for
Peterson. He also served the School of
Mines on both the Foundation and Hardrock Club boards of directors and as a
volunteer scholarship coach for 10 years after his official retirement.
Pete loved the School of Mines and devoted his life to its students. Our
thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many, many friends,” said
Mines President Heather Wilson.
was born June 28, 1928, in Alpena, where he graduated from high school in 1946.
He earned a degree in geological
engineering from the School of Mines in 1950, worked in oil exploration and
then went on to teach at Redfield High School. He earned a master’s degree in education from
Northern State Teachers College in 1955. Peterson began his career at the School of
Mines in 1957 and in 1969 earned a doctorate in psychology from the University
of South Dakota.
the School of Mines, he worked with a dedicated group of alumni to secure funding
for a new student center, which would eventually be named the Surbeck Center. Even after his retirement he helped lead a
successful first-ever capital campaign called Vision 2000 through the SDSM&T Foundation. In 1987, Peterson received the inaugural
Making a Difference Award and in 1992 the prestigious Guy March Medal from the
years ago Peterson was interviewed for a story in The Hardrock magazine observing M Hill’s 100th
anniversary. He recalled his vivid
memories of the climb as a student to the top of the hill and the evolving
tradition of whitewashing. “That
was a big thing,” Peterson said. “We walked all the way. We were told as
freshmen to have a gallon bucket and to meet down at what was the old post
office at six in the morning. We walked
to M Hill, and ... we crossed the creek, dipped a bucket of water and carried
it to mix the concrete for the plaque and to whitewash it.”
The family has asked that
memorial gifts be made to either the Howard C. Peterson Scholarship or the
Lenatt Peterson Memorial Scholarship at the School of Mines, c/o SDSM&T Foundation, 306 E. Saint Joseph St., Suit 200, Rapid City, S.D., 57701, or http://foundation.sdsmt.edu.
in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and
engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering
bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640
students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of
14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent
placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu,
on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.