New Chancellor Named
Michigan Educator to Assume Post Next Month
John D. Petersen, dean of the College of Science at Wayne State University, will assume the position of chancellor and provost for university affairs in June.
Petersen, 52, a professor of chemistry, succeeds Mark Emmert, who is now chancellor of Louisiana State University.
"Dr. Petersen brings to UConn a strong record of achievement as a researcher, teacher and academic leader," said President Philip E. Austin. "I look forward to working with him on initiatives that will continue UConn's emergence as one of the best public universities in the nation. It is clear our search has produced a chancellor who offers a superb combination of commitment, experience, and belief in the University of Connecticut's great potential."
Austin thanked the search committee, headed by Vice Provost Ron Taylor, for their dedication and hard work. He also expressed gratitude to Fred Maryanski, interim chancellor, for "his dedicated service during this transition period."
Petersen said he is attracted to UConn because so many critical components are coming together to further the University's growth. "I am impressed with the increasing quality and quantity of students, the UConn 2000 program, and the fact that UConn is one of only two public Carnegie Research I institutions in New England," he said.
His goal will be to build an even better research and teaching institution. "Building a university requires strong academic planning and focusing on excellence, while maintaining the breadth in programs characteristic of a comprehensive university," he said.
Petersen is also delighted to be returning to a residential campus where he and his wife, Carol, can be active participants in campus life.
Petersen has been at Wayne State University for six years. Located in downtown Detroit, it has an enrollment of 31,000 and, like UConn, is a Carnegie Research I university. The Carnegie Foundation's classification of universities includes only 88 universities in the nation in the top category in terms of research.
The Wayne State College of Science contains nine departments, employs 205 full-time faculty, and serves 3,500 undergraduate majors and more than 1,000 graduate majors. During Petersen's tenure as dean, the college has grown in size, sharpened its focus, developed a strong donor base, enhanced its curriculum and student service programs, and experienced a major increase in funded research.
A native of California, Petersen received a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Los Angeles, in 1970 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1975.
He served on the faculty at Kansas State University and later at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he rose to the rank of professor, served as associate dean for research in the College of Sciences from 1982 to 1987 and led the Department of Chemistry from 1990 to 1993.
Petersen has nearly 70 publications and more than 200 presentations to his credit; his work has been funded by major grants from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
He has taught extensively at the undergraduate and graduate levels and directed approximately 25 dissertations and several postdoctoral fellowships.
Petersen's wife, Carol, has been a middle school teacher of the gifted and talented, and the couple has two children - Melissa, a graduating senior at George Washington University, and Andrew, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Karen A. Grava