Political Science Professor Dave Peters Retires After 47 Years

Peters reflects on his time at Biola

May. 20, 2013 By Marissa Mavaega

Dave Peters, professor of political science and public administration, is retiring at the close of the spring 2013 semester after 47 years at Biola University. Dr. Peters’ retirement reception will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2:00-3:30 p.m. in the Cafe Banquet Room.


While a professor at Biola, Peters served six terms as mayor of La Mirada and 25 years as a La Mirada City Council member. He has published several articles on the public sector and currently is the chairman of the La Mirada Historic Preservation Council.

 

Peters took a moment to reflect on his time at Biola.


Working at Biola for more than four decades, you have witnessed the school go through many changes. What excites you about Biola's heritage?

 

Well, the heritage is the absolute, still, adherence to the bibliocentric perspective from the very beginning. Our mission statement has not changed one iota and that really appeals to me. In other words, we are really focused on a biblically centered education. Then living that out, applying the New Testament principles of doctrine and faith in our lives.


In 1978, I was made the director of the semester in Washington, D.C. program. That became an option for our students. We didn’t get the political science major until about five years ago. In that period of time when we had someone very motivated that wanted to run for office, I directed them to Washington, D.C. I was getting to see those kids invest in something beyond the four walls of a college lecture room. This allows them to play a more dynamic and active role in politics, because of what they learned. You could read a book or listen to a lecture, but go to city hall and go watch council.


What are some of your highlights from Biola University?


I learned to love teaching and I met my wife there. I taught for six years and then met my wife, Sherry. What I really wanted to do was run for political office. When I study politics, I don’t want to just read about it, I want to do it. I am an applied, hands-on, kind of person. So that was my dream, to run for political office. Yet, I felt myself liking this school setting. I loved the environment and I loved being around Christians. There was a spirit, ambiance and an attitude that I loved about Biola.


So, you met your wife here? Tell us about that.

 

It was 1972. She had left her umbrella, and she walks into the room being very formal. I was impressed with her. She had the most beautiful moonlight white complexion. She spoke very correctly and I later found out that she was raised in Nigeria at an English colony. Therefore, she spoke very crisp English. She very quickly told me she was engaged to be married. Sometime after I met her I heard that she was no longer engaged and I got her phone number from a friend that lived next door; his wife had been her junior year roommate.

 

I called her. I didn’t want to put pressure on her that I was going to drive 500 miles to take her on a date — I lied to her, she makes me tell this part of the story. So, ironically, I had a friend that was close, so I said to her, “I have a friend that wants to double date, would you be interested going out this weekend?” She said yes. Now I don’t lie very often and I am very forgetful. I then arrived to pick her up, and my friend was not there. She said, “Where’s your friend?” I had completely forgotten all about that and said, “Well, he had to work tonight.” So I took her out and within three months I proposed. So that was my highlight, I met my wife there.

 

What did you hope to bring to Biola’s environment?


I wanted to bring a confidence that we could make a difference — we could make a contribution. We can be heard. Al Sanders used to say on The Biola Hour, “Holding forth the light into a darkened world.”


The truth and the word, the Christian compassion and motivation, have an effect. That’s what I tried to encourage. The Lord wants us in the race.

 

What are your plans after retirement?


I often told myself that I taught for three reasons: June, July and August. Now that I am retiring it is always June, July and August, and I love vacations. I plan to go back to Oklahoma twice a year. I am also chairman of the Historic Preservation Council in La Mirada and there is one specific thing I would like to do. Someday there is going to be a bullet train between San Diego and San Francisco — my desire is to see that the train will stop in La Mirada.

 

Written by Marissa Mavaega, Media Relations Intern.  For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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