Dr. Richard L. Peterson: Montclair State Family Ties

Professor Peterson in 2009 at a “Best Business Practices in a Down Economy” event hosted by the Township of Montclair

Dr. Richard L. Peterson has been teaching management information systems at Montclair State University’s School of Business (SBUS) for nearly 25 years and loves his work. Beyond that, he has another Montclair State connection that makes his affinity even stronger. “My mother-in-law, Doris Spinelli, worked here in the College Hall typing pool for 15 years when her children were young,” he shares. “She helped any professor who needed something typed up. She liked it because it was close to home and flexible for a working mother.”

In addition, Dr. Peterson’s father-in-law, Emil Spinelli, studied at the University after he retired. “He loved taking different classes and enjoyed spending time in the “Skellar” in the Student Center with the students,” Dr. Peterson adds. “It was a good experience for him. Montclair State has been good for me too. I definitely feel more of an allegiance here than to the schools I attended.”

In recognition of their personal and professional ties to the University, Dr. Peterson and his wife, Susan, have made a provision in their wills for Montclair State. The couple has been happily married for 32 years, and enjoys spending time in New York City and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), where one of his former hospitality students is the assistant manager of Nico, NJPAC’s restaurant.

Dr. Peterson started teaching at SBUS as an adjunct professor back in 1989 and joined the faculty in 1996. He now is a full professor in the Information and Operations Management Department. “I’m doing what I love to do,” he says. “I love the kids, the University is great, and I support the mission,” he adds. “I’m proud to say that I hired at least 15 professors when I was chair and virtually all of them are still here, many in leadership positions, including current department chair Dr. Ross Malaga.”

“Students are the best part of the job,” he adds. “I always take time with them and find teachable moments even outside the classroom.” He stays in touch with many of his former students and plans to organize a reunion. “I like being invited to their weddings and other special occasions and getting pictures of their kids,” he says proudly. “Teaching is about relationships, and I like seeing my former students develop to their full potential. It’s a great legacy.”

Have you thought about your own legacy at Montclair State? Visit www.montclair.edu/plannedgiving or contact Judy Echeveria Linder ’83 at 973-655-5454 or linderj@mail.montclair.edu for more information.