SigEp is saddened by the passing of Brother Arthur Peterson, Lawrence ’47, who built a long and storied career in politics and higher education.
Peterson attended Lawrence University, where he joined SigEp’s Wisconsin Alpha chapter. He temporarily put his education on hold to enlist in the U.S. Navy. During his service, he enrolled in an officer training program that led to him receiving a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. After completing his military service, Peterson finished his bachelor’s degree and went on to earn a master’s.
He then entered politics, becoming the nation’s youngest state legislator when he was sworn into the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1951. Unafraid to stand up for his convictions, Peterson became known as an outspoken critic of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s unproven accusations of Communist activity in America. He went on to chair the Ohio Civil Rights Commission during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. He later returned to school, completing his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in 1962.
His passion for education led to a new career as a college professor and administrator. Peterson taught political science for 20 years at the University of Wisconsin and Ohio Wesleyan before going on to serve as a dean and president of the American Graduate School of International Management, Lebanon Valley College and Eckerd College. He later combined his interests in politics and scholarship as president of the Center for the Study of the American Presidency.
In 1979, the Fraternity recognized Peterson’s many accomplishments with the SigEp Citation.