Giving to Ag Ed: Roland Peterson

Roland PetersonDonors are a crucial part of education here at the University of Minnesota. If we did not have donors, we could not reach our full potential. Contributing to the Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing Department provides students with countless opportunities to succeed and thrive.

Roland Peterson was a Professor in Agricultural Education at the University of Minnesota from January 1972 until June 2005 when he retired. He taught a diverse range of courses and advised students in teacher education during that time. Dr. Peterson also served as the Head of Agricultural Education from 1997 to 2005. Additionally, he held leadership positions in the Department of Work, Community and Family Education for two years.

In 2007, the faculty asked Dr. Peterson to return and teach courses founded in agricultural leadership. As a result, he taught a course each fall and spring term from 2007 to spring of 2015. He also created the AgriScience Fair in 1988, which still brings FFA members from across the state to campus each year. Altogether, Dr. Roland Peterson has been a part of the University of Minnesota for 41 years.

For Dr. Peterson, donors are very important. “My wife and I gave a $25,000 endowed scholarship to assist incoming freshmen with a reduced cost so they could attend the U of M,” he said. This scholarship has served since 2007, or 10 years total. By donating this endowment, they hope it encourages students to pursue our university instead of surrounding colleges that are lower in cost, “Scholarships are wonderful gifts because students who receive them do not have to repay.”

Dr. Peterson received his undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees all from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After one year of college, he decided to help his father on the farm, but became eligible for the draft in the Korean Conflict. Dr. Peterson volunteered for the draft and served two years in the military as a military policeman in the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. After returning from the military, he decided that a college education was essential.

He was not a direct scholarship recipient, but while he served in the Korean Conflict, Dr. Peterson was awarded four years of support which was one reason why he could consider college. He sees a scholarship donation as a way to help support students, “I hope it is considered a reward and a gift so students can focus on their education and not have financial distress,” Dr. Peterson said.

After a student receives a scholarship that is part of Dr. Peterson and his wife’s endowment, he hopes to receive a sincere thank-you and hopefully a lifelong connection. To conclude, Dr. Peterson said, “I loved students and the opportunity to have an impact on their lives for the future. I hope that was reflected in my teaching, advising and now remotely in a scholarship.”

Because of generous donors like Dr. Peterson, Ag Ed and ACM students are able to focus more on their education, and less on financial strain. Thank you to all donors that make it possible for students to succeed at the University of Minnesota!

For more information on how you can contribute, please visit this link.