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Springfield police open death investigation after woman’s body found

Peterson new Urbana University president

‘Interim’ tag officially dropped.

Urbana University’s Board of Trustees announced Thursday afternoon that the school has dropped the interim tag from Dr. Kirk E. Peterson’s title of president.

Peterson, 42, who is the university’s 22nd president, replaced Stephen Jones on an interim basis on April 1 of last year. Jones resigned after five years at the helm to become president of Antioch University New England. Peterson was senior vice president of academic affairs at the university prior to assuming the interim president role.

“I have been blessed immensely by having incredible mentors,” said Peterson. “As I was going through my education, I had some very special people who helped me along. And because of that, we’re trying to develop a top-notch interning program so our students can experience this as well


In his 3 1/2 years at Urbana, Peterson has helped the university expand its online courses and degree offerings; ramped up institutional assessment at all levels with the establishment of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness; helped secure re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission; instituted revisions to the tenure and promotion procedure; and focused more on faculty recruitment, retention and development.

Peterson came to Urbana U. in June of 2010 from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C.

Peterson was just one of a list of candidates considered for the presidency.

“I think that I earned the position,” said Peterson. “I gained the trust of the board of trustees.”

“We are pleased that Dr. Peterson has accepted this permanent role,” said Steven Polsley, chairman of Urbana’s Board of Trustees, in a press release. “With his energetic vision and passion for our school, we are confident that Kirk will lead us into a prosperous future, creating new relevant programs that will leverage strengths of our liberal arts core and innovative, styles of online, hybrid and traditional learning.”

Peterson is excited about that future.

“Today we signed our 50th high school for our dual enrollment program, and we work with over 1,000 high school students, and want to keep that going,” he said. “We’re also looking at revamping of our honors program. On the international side, our goal is to get 200 plus international students.”

Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and two master’s degrees and a doctorate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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