Peter McPherson to Address Future of Higher Education

A long career in government, business and academia provides perspective on next steps for UC Riverside and other public universities.

Peter McPherson Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), is an influential  person in the higher education world.

He currently serves as president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, a research, policy, and advocacy organization representing 235 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations. And he brings experience from a career filled with high ranking positions in business, government and academia.

His career started in the Peace Corps; he was a special assistant to President Gerald Ford; head of USAID; Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department; president of Michigan State University and Chairman of Dow Jones.

He will speak at UC Riverside at 4 p.m. Friday, May 30 in room 116 of the Materials Science and Engineering Building. He is the third and final speaker in the Chancellor’s Symposium Series on the “The Public University of the 21st Century,” planned as part of the investiture of UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox.

His talk is free and open to the public. Parking is free and refreshments will be served.

Chancellor Wilcox suggested the series of speakers as a way to analyze and predict the future of the American Research University, building on ideas presented at the April 24 investiture ceremony. The first speaker was Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. The second speaker was Jeffrey Riedinger of University of Washington.

“The talks will build on the ideas put forth in the chancellor’s speech about the right way for UCR to grow and develop over the next five years,” said Dallas Rabenstein, UCR’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. “These will be interactive, with two faculty members at each event to respond about the future of the campus.”

The response and discussion after the talk will be offered by Jodie Holt, professor of botany and an divisional dean in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences; and Sharon Walker, an associate professor who holds the John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering in the Bourns College of Engineering.

A first-generation college graduate, Wilcox is now chancellor at one of the most exciting times on the UCR campus, with the new medical school, the new school of public policy, expanding research opportunities and the potential to broaden the campus’s international reach.

McPherson is the founding co-chair of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa; chair of the Board of IFDC, an international center dealing with soil fertility and agricultural development; and chair of the Board of Harvest Plus, an organization working on breeding crops for better nutrition.
McPherson was president of Michigan State University for more than 11 years (1993-2004.) Before Michigan State, McPherson held senior executive positions with Bank of America from 1989 to 1993. He has also held many roles in government with the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Agency for International Development and as Special Assistant to President Gerald Ford in the White House.

McPherson has been honored with the U. S. Presidential Certificate of Outstanding Achievement, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Leadership Award, the Department of Treasury’s Alexander Hamilton Award, the UNICEF award for “outstanding contribution to child survival,” the 1983 Humanitarian of the Year award from the American Lebanese League and the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award in 1998. He received a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University and a J.D. from American University.

Founded in 1887, the APLU is North America’s oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, APLU member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.1 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $41 billion in university-based research.

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