Campus mourns loss of Professor Emeritus Sven Peterson

Publication Date

Sven "Rick" Peterson, professor emeritus of philosophy and administration and management, died Monday, Aug. 5. He was 91.

Born in Getinge, Sweden, Peterson was raised in Ohio. He lived in Ballston Spa, N.Y., at the time of his death.

He received his bachelor's of science degree from Harvard University, where he majored in mathematics. After serving as flight instructor with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he earned his master's and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

He joined Union's Philosophy Department as an instructor in 1952, and was promoted to assistant professor in 1954, associate professor in 1958 and full professor in 1963. He retired in 1983. At Union, he was the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals and a frequent contributor to College publications.

An expert on the logic of conditionals, Peterson taught courses in logic, calculus and James Joyce's Ulysses.

"A Santa Claus figure in appearance and spirit, he was a white-bearded jovial soul with a sharp, dry sense of humor," recalled his former colleague, Robert Baker, the William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy.

Prior to joining the College, Peterson taught biology and chemistry at a private school, then mathematics for three years at the University of New Hampshire.

Along with his wife, Patricia, Peterson was active in the local arts community for many years. Patricia died in 2011.

Peterson was also pre-deceased by a daughter, Kersti, and a brother, Arthur. Survivors include a brother, Arnold, of Wadsworth, Ohio, and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, Ill. 60601.

At Peterson's request, there are no calling hours and services will be private. Interment will be in Eastline Cemetery in Malta, N.Y.