Donor Spotlight: One leap of faith can change your life
The Peters fund study abroad scholarship at IU Southeast
Curtis Peters, professor emeritus of philosophy at Indiana University Southeast, and his wife Pam have always had a passion for international travel and learning.
In 1969, Curtis received a graduate scholarship to study in the German Academic Exchange Service, one of the largest funding organizations in the world for the international exchange of students and researchers. After studying in Heidelberg, Germany, Curtis returned home with an experience that forever changed him.
“Coming from small Midwestern towns, we both had international experiences that broadened our lives when we were still pretty young,” said Pam.
In 1978, Curtis decided to take a leap of faith and leave Fort Wayne, Indiana to move to the unfamiliar city of New Albany after accepting a job as a professor of philosophy at IU Southeast with a salary of just $11,000.
Curtis Peters studying abroad in Norway as a high school exchange student in 1959.
“Coming from small Midwestern towns, we both had international experiences that broadened our lives when we were still pretty young.”
Curtis had been a professor at Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, a pre-seminary college that closed in 1977. He began seeking new opportunities. Little did he know, IU Southeast would offer him experiences of a lifetime and the chance to have a positive impact on the lives of students.
From 1976 to 2006, Curtis served in a variety of roles at IU Southeast including, the executive of the faculty senate, as division chair and dean of humanities (now Arts and Letters) and as the first director of the First-Year Seminar program. In 2012, he came out of retirement to be the acting vice chancellor of academic affairs. His dedication to teaching resulted in an Outstanding Teacher Award from IU Southeast.
After coming to IU Southeast, Curtis also became very involved in the Indiana University overseas study program, encouraging all of his students to study abroad. In 1982, he was selected as the overseas study director in Hamburg, Germany. The Peters and their three children lived in Hamburg for a year, helping about 24 students in their studies.
These experiences lead the Peters to give back to IU Southeast in a unique way.
“We would like other students to have the experiences we’ve had,” said Pam.
The Peters recently decided to fund the Curtis & Pamela Peters Scholarship for Overseas Study. The non-renewable scholarship will be for undergraduate students at IU Southeast who are participating in an IU-approved, credit-bearing overseas study program as part of an educational experience for a semester, academic year or short-term study.
“We want to fund this scholarship to tie in with and support something that Indiana University does really well,” said Curtis. “We want to make sure that there are as many students from IU Southeast as possible who can take advantage of the study abroad program.”
Cover photo: Pam Peters and the IU Overseas Study group in the Alps in 1992.
Curtis Peters and IU Overseas Study students sit on the steps of a monument in Austria in 1992.
“We want to make sure that there are as many students from IU Southeast as possible who can take advantage of the study abroad program.”