FROM NIU PRESS OFFICE
DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University President John G. Peters will be honored today with the NASPA President’s Award at the annual awards luncheon held during the 2010 NASPA Annual Conference.
NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education – is the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy and practice.
“NASPA is pleased to recognize dedicated leaders like John Peters, who truly see higher education administration as a calling,” said NASPA Executive Director Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy. “His vision for and stewardship of Northern Illinois University over the past decade, particularly during the tragic shooting incident in 2008, have brought the students, faculty and local community together to achieve impressive goals.”
The NASPA President’s Award is given to a college or university president who has, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs.
“He has set himself as a model of understanding, compassion and hope and has sought and endorsed multiple healing initiatives to move the entire NIU and local community forward,” wrote Brian O. Hemphill, NIU vice president of student affairs, in a letter nominating Peters for the award.
All of the letters from campus and student leaders in support of Peters’ nomination highlighted his leadership of the DeKalb campus in the aftermath of the February 2008 shooting incident in which a gunman fatally shot five students and wounded 19 before turning the gun on himself.
Dubbed the “students’ president,” Peters actively engages students in conversation to ask their opinions, answer their questions and listen to their concerns. At the start of the fall semester, Peters often drives around the campus in a golf cart to help students and their families move their belongings from the parking lots to their residence halls. He also visits residence halls throughout the year to talk with students and join them for lunch. Each semester, he invites students to the presidential residence for dinner, discussions, and networking opportunities.
“I know of few university presidents who take the amount of time and extra effort that John does to make sure that students feel that they have a leader who is accessible and who understands their issues,” wrote Raymond W. Alden III, executive vice president and provost at NIU.
Since Peters assumed the leadership of NIU in June 2000, the institution has been admitted to the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, granted full membership in the Universities Research Association, achieved designation as a Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive university, and secured $20 million for construction of a new College of Business — the institution’s largest private gift to date. NIU also has received millions in research funding as a result of Peters’ active pursuit of earmarked federal funds.
More information on NASPA Awards is available at www.naspa.org/programs/awards.