Kirk Edward Peterson

President, Chowan University

Kirk Edward Peterson was named the twenty-third president of Chowan University by the Board of Trustees on February 15, 2018 and assumed the office on June 1, 2018.

A native of Rock Island, Illinois, Dr. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Continuing his education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Dr. Peterson received two Master of Science in Education degrees, the first in Sport Psychology and the second in Mental Health Counseling. He also pursued further graduate study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, earning his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2000.

Dr. Peterson first served the University in 2004 as chair of what is now the Sport Science and Physical Education department. Throughout his tenure, he also served as Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and as Assistant Provost. Based on the needs of the institution’s service area, Dr. Peterson helped found Chowan University’s first master’s program and served as founding Dean of the University’s Graduate School, which offered the only Christian University master’s degree program east of North Carolina’s I-95 and the only elementary education master’s degree within a 60 mile radius.

Prior to returning to Chowan University, Dr. Peterson served as Interim President and President of Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio. While president, Dr. Peterson successfully negotiated the merger of Urbana University with Franklin University, retaining the university’s discipline-specific and regional accreditation. After saving Urbana University from absolute closure, Dr. Peterson became superintendent of two private schools in Ohio. His breadth of experience as both faculty and administrator in higher, secondary, and elementary education uniquely prepares him to lead Chowan University.

Dr. Peterson believes in educating and nurturing students in a student-centered environment by placing great instructors and staff members in front of students and providing opportunities through thorough and demanding curricula that celebrate the exceptionality of all students. Dr. Peterson feels that education should promote safe, yet challenging, environments for students to grow academically, personally, socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Part of Dr. Peterson’s vision for Chowan is to continue the effort to recruit and retain students as well as growing and improving the physical plant. He has a desire to work with the faculty to bring in innovative academic programs and work closely with the students to gauge their feelings and listen to their needs.

Previously a member of the River of Life Christian Center, Dr. Peterson is now a member of Murfreesboro Baptist Church. He and his wife, Rachel, met as neighbors in Prattville, Alabama and have since been married for 23 years. Dr. and Mrs. Peterson have three sons: Caleb (19), Cody (16), and Justin (13). The Petersons enjoy traveling together as a family and spending time out at the ballfield with their sons.