Martha Peterson

Martha Peterson

Higher Education Administrator

Martha Peterson first graduated from the University of Kansas in 1937 after which she taught high school math. After earning her master's in Educational Psychology at KU and teaching math at the university she was named the assistant dean of women in 1946. She was promoted to dean in 1952, a position she held for 5 years before taking a similar post at the University of Wisconsin. In 1959 Peterson completed her doctorate in educational psychology at KU. She became the dean of students and special assistant to the president at Wisconsin in 1963. Peterson became the chairman of the American Council on Education in 1971 and 3 years later became the first woman board member of Exxon. In 1967 she became the president of Barnard College and in 1975 she left Barnard to take the position of president at Beloit College. Peterson was also chosen by President Reagan in 1981 to join the President's commission on White House Fellowships.

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  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • 26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
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    —U.S. News & World Report
  • 46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
    —ALA