Biography & Photos

President G. P. "Bud" Peterson, PhD

G. P. “Bud” Peterson was appointed as the 11th president of Georgia Tech on April 1, 2009. Under his leadership Georgia Tech has developed and begun the implementation of a 25-year strategic plan, exceeded the $1.5 billion goal for Campaign Georgia Tech by 20 percent, grown innovative collaborations and strategic partnerships, expanded the campus infrastructure, and increased national and global visibility. Notably in that time, applications have tripled and enrollment has increased by 23 percent.

Throughout his career, Peterson has played an active role in helping to establish the national education and research agendas, serving on numerous industry, government, and academic task forces and committees. A distinguished scientist, he was appointed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, and again in 2014 by President Barack Obama, to serve as a member of the National Science Board, which oversees the NSF and advises the President and Congress on national policy related to science and engineering research and education.

He has served as a member of a number of congressional task forces, research councils, and advisory boards, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Research Council (NRC), and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In addition, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors and vice president for education for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). In August 2016 he became chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, the highest governing body of the NCAA.

Prior to his appointment at Georgia Tech, Peterson served as chancellor at the University of Colorado at Boulder (2006-2009), provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York (2000-2006), and program director at the National Science Foundation for the Thermal Transport and Thermal Processing Program (1993-1994). He held various positions of increased responsibility at Texas A&M University (1981-2000), including associate vice chancellor for engineering for the Texas A&M University System (1996-2000). Prior to his service at Texas A&M, he was a visiting research scientist at NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas (1981-1982), associate professor and head of the General Engineering Technology Department at Kansas Technical Institute in Salina, Kansas (1979-1981), and taught mathematics, physics and chemistry at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kansas (1978-1979) and Wabaunsee County High School in Alma, Kansas (1977-1978).

As chancellor of the University of Colorado, Peterson led the development of a new university wide strategic plan, Flagship 2030, which defined a vision for the university for the next 20 years. In his nearly three years as chancellor, freshman applications increased by 35 percent, the number of under-represented minorities in the freshmen class increased by 38 percent, sponsored research increased by more than 18 percent, and private philanthropy for the university increased by nearly 80 percent.

As provost at Rensselaer, he played a key role in the institutional transformation and the dramatic improvement in the quality, size, and diversity of the faculty – overseeing the hiring of nearly 40 percent of the faculty, increasing the total number of tenured and tenure-track faculty by 20 percent, and improving the diversity of the tenured/tenure-track faculty by more than doubling the number of under-represented minorities and increasing the number of women by 40 percent. In addition, during his tenure as provost, the quality, size, and diversity of the student body increased, with the number of full-time PhD students increasing by 25%.

Peterson's research interests have focused on the fundamental aspects of phase change heat transfer, including the heat transfer in reduced gravity environments, boiling from enhanced surfaces, and some of the earliest work in the area of flow and phase change heat transfer in microchannels. Early investigations focused on applications involving the thermal control of manned and unmanned spacecraft and progressed through applications of phase change heat transfer to the thermal control of electronic components and devices. More recently, investigations have included fundamental applications of phase change heat transfer to the field of biotechnology, including the insitu treatment of cancerous tissue using hypo and hyperthermia to arrest epileptic seizures through the rapid cooling of localized brain tissue, which required highly efficient heat dissipation devices capable of dissipating thermal energy to surrounding tissue.

A Fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Peterson is the author or co-author of 16 books or book chapters, 210 refereed journal articles, more than 170 conference publications, and holds 11 patents with four others pending. He is a member of several professional organizations and the recipient of numerous national and international honors and awards for both teaching and research.

Peterson earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a second bachelor's degree in mathematics, and a master's degree in engineering, all from Kansas State University. He earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He and his wife, Val, have four adult children, two of whom are Georgia Tech alumni.

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