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A Send-off For NIU President Peters

Northern Illinois University President John Peters still has seven weeks left on the job – but Monday, the campus and community came together to say goodbye.

Students, employees, and community members gathered beneath a big white tent Monday afternoon to honor NIU’s leader, who’s leaving after 13 years as president. Professor Matt Streb says he learned a lot about how to treat people while working with John and Barbara Peters:

“I got to see every day how hard they worked on behalf of this university, how much they sacrificed on behalf of this university, and how much they loved this university.”

Long-time Board of Trustees member Bob Boey says he has been through a lot with Peters over the years – including attending the funerals of five students who were murdered in a classroom in 2008:

“These were very intense and personal moments. And he unified the community. His leadership will always be remembered.”

Peters says he plans to stay connected to the university after his presidency ends June 30th: that includes helping the next president Doug Baker transition into the office, fundraising for NIU, and writing about his experiences as president.

“We have a great new president who’s very academically centered, he’s student centered, he’s community-focused… he sees the potential here!”

The Peters will eventually return to their home in Knoxville, Tennessee: it’s close to their grandchildren, who attended Monday’s send-off. They got to see their grandfather receive his own Orange Bowl ring from the athletic department and were there for the unveiling of the newest official presidential portrait, which will hang next to the 10 others in Altgeld Hall.  

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.