Julius Edward “Pete” Peterson recently established scholarships in the College of Education and the College of Letters Arts and Social Sciences to help other first-generation college students pursue their educational goals. The first scholarships will be awarded this coming school year, and Peterson plans to add to the scholarship endowments annually. His final gift to the endowments will be through a generous estate gift.
Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Idaho in 1962. He was highly involved in campus activities, including the NROTC. During his junior year, he received the Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership Award, and at his graduation ceremony, received the American Legion Navy Award.
Following graduation, Peterson was commissioned ensign in the U.S. Navy and served during the Vietnam era. He attained the rank of Lieutenant and received several medals, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Following his naval career, Peterson earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Stanford University and was an English, social studies, and mentor teacher in the Jefferson School District, Daly City, Calif. for 31 years. In 1998, he retired to Meridian, Idaho, where he currently resides.
Peterson has a heart for first-generation college students. He understands the increasing financial challenges they face and is passionate about ensuring student success by helping future teachers graduate without high student loan debt. . At the University of Idaho, 33% of students are first-generation college students and 38% are eligible for Pell Grants, indicating significant financial need. With more students graduating with high debts, Peterson wants to do his part in making a difference.
Peterson says he established these scholarships to show appreciation for the memorable education he received at the University of Idaho and to benefit future first-generation Vandals.