A mechanical engineer with degrees from Kansas State and Texas A&M universities, Peterson was chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder when he was hired to lead Georgia Tech in 2009. With Peterson marking 10 years at Georgia Tech in April, he will meet the age and tenure requirements to receive full retirement benefits. His current annual compensation, $1,135,710, is the highest of any public college president in the state.
Peterson fired several top officials, accepted the resignation of others and reorganized his leadership team in recent months after state and internal audit reports found several problems such as an administrator who was paid to serve on the board of a German-based company receiving compensation for services at Georgia Tech. Peterson has said he was unaware of the relationship. He’s repeatedly said he’s been “disappointed” and “embarrassed” by the revelations.
Georgia Tech’s enrollment increased by 11 percent this fall, to more than 32,700 students, the largest increase in the University System of Georgia. It’s consistently ranked by prominent organizations as one of the nation’s top colleges and universities.
Peterson's impending departure is one of several major leadership changes at the Midtown Atlanta school. Head football coach Paul Johnson retired at the end of the season.
The University System of Georgia will conduct a national search for Peterson’s replacement. Three other system presidents, at Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Southern and Savannah State universities, have left or announced plans to leave this school year.