Dr. Dan Peterson, sociology professor and chair of the department of social sciences;

  • Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1970, business administration
  • Master’s degree from SDSU in 1972, social sciences
  • Doctorate in sociology, SDSU in 1987, sociology
  • Taught high school economics and sociology, 74-77
  • Joined the BHSU faculty in 1977

Dr. Dan Peterson, who began teaching economics and social science classes at BHSU in 1977, is described by a colleague as a “free spirit.”

“Dan is patient, non-judgmental and a friend,” says longtime colleague Dr. George Earley, who shared an office with Peterson for many years. “When describing Dan as a free spirit, I mean someone who is easy-going, slow to anger, and more concerned about content than format.”

Earley says that Peterson worked hard to make the sociology major one of the best majors at the university and deserves credit for his effort.

The sociology professor is actively involved in many professional organizations and encourages students to present at national and regional meetings. He served as president of the Midwestern Society of Sociologists.

During his tenure at BHSU, Peterson received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in India, received two governor’s awards for course redevelopment and participated in a global conditions and world hunger institute in 1994.

Peterson says he “doesn’t have a clue” what he’ll do when he retires; however, a brief discussion with him reveals a variety of interests and it’s easy to see that he’ll rely on his “free spirit personality” to keep life interesting. Dan is a world-wide traveler who has been around the globe before and is ready to go again.

“I figure 28 years is enough. I decided it was time to give someone else an opportunity to teach these classes,” Peterson says.

Peterson started teaching as a part-time economist and part-time sociologist. Through the years, his teaching load has evolved into teaching sociology courses full time. Peterson has a list of 22 different classes that he has taught in the nearly three decades he has spent at BHSU. He says he especially enjoyed teaching the social theory and social stratification classes.

Peterson has seen many changes at BHSU and notes that he has seen the campus evolve through the years. He says that facility additions have transformed the campus into “much more of a university environment.”

According to Peterson, the highlight for him as a professor is hearing from students after they have graduated and are working in the field.

“We have some really fine people who have come through this institution,” Peterson says. “Many have gone on to earn Ph.D.s and are working in interesting and demanding jobs. We should be very proud of our students. It’s heartening to know that they are out there doing something interesting.”

Peterson’s wife, Barb, is an elementary school counselor and their daughter is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

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