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Melvin M. Peterson to Receive Honorary Degree at UE Commencement

Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Local resident and devoted University of Evansville supporter, Melvin M. Peterson, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the 2014 UE Commencement, May 10, 1:30 p.m., at the Ford Center.

Peterson was elected an Honorary Board of Trustees member at UE in 1999, and he has actively served on the board since that time. He has also been involved in other areas of campus, including his service as president of the Samuel Johnson Society, Harlaxton Society, Friends of Art, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1991, the UE Alumni Association recognized his service to the University by naming him a Samuel Orr Honorary Alumnus.

One of his most visible contributions is the Melvin Peterson Gallery – a space that transformed the corner of Lincoln and Weinbach Avenues by creating an elegant showcase for student and professional artwork to be displayed. Peterson’s love for literature and the arts also resulted in a Distinguished Writer’s Lecture Series and the Melvin M. Peterson Alumni Writing Workshop, to encourage graduates to continue their pursuit of writing. The University also hosts Peterson annually as part of the Melvin M. Peterson Literary Hour, where he shares his knowledge of British authors, among other topics.

In 2002, the Melvin M. Peterson Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing was established at UE. It is stipulated that the holder of the chair is someone who is an acknowledged, inspiring, and resourceful teacher, a friend of students, and a model for his or her fellow teachers. The recipient’s character is to reflect the gentility, humanity, and wisdom of the liberal arts tradition.

Peterson retired as a financial advisor from Chevron Oil Corporation, San Francisco, California, in 1972. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, he served four years in the United States Navy and earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of San Francisco, a Master of Arts in English literature from the California State University-Sonoma, and a Master of Arts in history from Indiana State University.

For more information about this award or UE commencement, call University Relations at 812-488-2236.

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