After Dr. Chase Peterson passed away on Sept. 14, the tributes for the former University of Utah president came pouring in from across the country. After graduating with a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard in 1956, Peterson began his career as a physician in Salt Lake City, where he was also a clinical instructor at the U’s Medical School. In 1967, he was recruited back to Harvard to become the school’s dean of admissions.
It was in that role where Peterson hired the first African-American admissions staff member and instituted an enrollment strategy that embraced students who were less privileged than your typical Ivy League undergrad. These measures were cited by the Supreme Court as exemplary when it ruled in favor of affirmative action in 1978 and again in 2005. And it is what compelled MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to dedicate a segment of his television show “The Last Word” to pay homage to Peterson.
— The Last Word (@TheLastWord) September 16, 2014
You can view Lawrence O’Donnell’s tribute below:
Of course, Peterson’s contributions were also felt here at the U, where he laid the foundations to the school’s groundbreaking genetics research, and held open office hours, first as the head of University Health Sciences and then as President of the University.
The current dean of the U’s School of Medicine and University of Utah Health Care CEO, Dr. Vivian Lee, wrote this commemoration, and also tweeted her condolences:
University of Utah President David W. Pershing recalled Peterson’s kindness, loyalty and impact in an email sent to the entire University.
Chase led this institution with optimism and joy, eager to share his vision for the university’s place on a world stage. For him, leaving the office of president in 1991 did not mean leaving this campus. He was lecturing as recently as this summer, a testament to his commitment to students.
Chase Peterson loved the University of Utah. His efforts to enhance the U’s teaching and research mission will be his legacy, evident always in the careers and contributions of thousands of students whose lives were made better by his service.
And on Twitter, there was a wellspring of reminiscences and tributes for Peterson.
http://t.co/K8q3tu5Hp2 I am among the many people whose life was positively impacted by the kindness of Dr. Chase Peterson.He will be missed
— Michael Benson (@EKUPrez) September 15, 2014
— Bryan William Jones (@BWJones) September 15, 2014
RadioWest also posted this video, “The Source of Love,” from its VideoWest series in commemoration.
— jason thompson (@usujason) September 17, 2014
…or shared with another than to truly understand them or their parts.” 2/2
— Doug Fabrizio (@DougFabrizio) September 17, 2014
I never worked closely with former UofU pres Chase Peterson, but I always admired his leadership from afar. I want to publicly thank him.
— Natalie Gochnour (@Gochnour) September 15, 2014
— Shauna Bona (@Shauna_K_Bona) September 15, 2014
We will miss you Uncle Chase. You impacted many people with your words of kind encouragement. Thanks for the example. http://t.co/KuBwihZcOc
— Preston Darger (@PrestonDarger) September 16, 2014
The public is welcome to attend the following events in remembrance of Dr. Chase Peterson:
Viewing on Friday, September 26, from 4:00 to 8:00pm
Larkin Sunset Lawn location
2350 East 1300 South
Salt Lake City
Funeral service on Saturday, September 27, at 10:00am
LDS Monument Park North Stake
1320 South Wasatch Boulevard (2400 East)
Salt Lake City
Cards may be sent to:
Mrs. Grethe Peterson
910 S. Donner Way, #201
Salt Lake City UT 84108