David A. Peterson

David A. Peterson

Hall of Fame Class of 2003

David Peterson has made significant and lasting contributions to continuing education and training in the field of aging for more than 30 years. His mission to ensure that those working with older adults have available the educational programs to promote a high quality of life is reflected in his internationally acclaimed teaching, research and service.

Dr. Peterson received his doctorate from the University of Michigan, where he also taught for four years before moving to the University of Nebraska. In 1978 he became the director of America's first school of gerontology, the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC). As director of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, he developed 10 dual-degree and certificate programs in gerontology where he mentored the development of the first doctorate program in aging; it has served as a model for programs nationwide. He has held the Polusky Endowed Chair in Education and Aging at USC since 1999. 

Dr. Peterson has been a central figure in faculty development programs at USC and at other institutions, primarily minority-based institutions, through the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). He has been an active member of AGHE since its inception in 1974 and has participated in several of its committees including his service as the president of the association in 1984. Among the many AGHE resources Dr. Peterson has written or contributed to AGHE's National Directory of Educational Programs in Gerontology and Geriatrics.

He was instrumental in collecting the original data used in the directory. For more than ten years, Dr. Peterson has participated in the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics, an organization designed to strengthen two-year, four-year and postgraduate programs statewide. In 1993, he received the Clark Tibbitts Award for outstanding service to academic gerontology. 

Dr. Peterson has recently contributed to the development of distance learning in aging, and has taught the first online diversity and aging course. USC's distance learning program now provides short-term continuing education courses for a wide range of practitioners in the area of home modifications.