June 22, 2004
In his more than 50-year relationship with South Dakota Tech, Dr. Howard Peterson has become a cornerstone of what the university represents. In recognition of his contributions, Tech has named its new, student-centered dormitory, “Howard Peterson Hall.”
The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the action during its meeting Friday in Aberdeen. A formal dedication ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 24, to coincide with M Week festivities.
“I am delighted to announce that the Board of Regents approved our request to name the new residence hall in honor of Dean Pete, in recognition of his long relationship with South Dakota Tech,” university President Dr. Charles Ruch said. “Dean Pete is a Hardrocker to his core, and his contributions to this university have helped make it what it is today.”
Peterson has a long legacy at Tech. A native of Alpena, he attended Tech in an era when most students were veterans of World War II, and few were traditional, out-of-high-school youngsters. Howard was one of the youngsters. He was active in many campus organizations, and received a bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering in 1950. After working in oil exploration, he taught high school in eastern South Dakota. During his teaching years, he earned a master’s degree in Education in 1955 from Northern State Teachers College. He then returned to Tech and was appointed assistant dean of students. He later earned a doctorate in Education from the University of South Dakota.
From the 1960s into the 1990s, Peterson truly was a personal friend of most Tech students. He retired as dean of students in 1992, only to immediately play a leadership role that made a significant impact on the very successful, first-ever capital campaign in the university’s history. Peterson continues to mentor students as an advisor, as a member of several university boards and as chairman-emeritus of the university’s Foundation Board of Directors.
“Dean Pete’s service to South Dakota Tech can not be understated,” Ruch said. “It’s people with this kind of commitment to making this university the very best it can be who allow us to help students achieve their dreams.”
Students will move into the new residence hall in August 2004. Once the new hall is opened, March and Dake halls will be razed, but the names will not be forgotten. Plaques outlining the legacies of former Tech Presidents Guy March and Earl Dake will be prominently displayed in the vicinity of the former buildings in an outdoor lounge area for students. This area will be named March Dake Plaza.
The new, 300-bed residence hall is being constructed adjacent to the south end of the Surbeck Center. Room configurations include suites and standard double rooms. Study lounges, a kitchen and an exercise room also will be included. Since the residence hall will connect to the Surbeck Center’s main floor, a coffee and smoothie shop, the cashier’s office, the campus safety office and a common front desk operation will serve both.
“Providing students with more of what they want is the best part of this building project,” Residence Life Director Reeny Wilson said. “We've talked with many students, held focus groups and gathered survey information. Through a new residence hall, we will offer students more on-campus housing options, better meet their needs and hopefully attract more students to the Tech campus.”
Features of the new building include:
Individual temperature control in each room
Sinks in every room
Beds that can be bunked or lofted with provided hardware
Large laundry room with ice machine
Private showers and dressing areas in the public shower rooms
Card access entry to rooms
Howard Peterson Hall will be home to the inaugural group of 101 students to participate in a new Tech program designed to help freshmen succeed. The program, called FIRST, Freshman Introduction to Real Success at Tech, will help students develop connections with each other and the university during each student’s first year on campus.
“These connections provide the students with a foundation of support both academically and socially during their first year at Tech,” Wilson said. “Participants will be able to take advantage of in-hall tutoring and coordinated classes and study groups. Other features of the program will give participants opportunities to live, learn and succeed.”
The new program’s location in Howard Peterson Hall is fitting, because, “This is a residence hall that is centered around student needs,” Ruch said. “That makes it the perfect tribute to Dean Pete.”
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.