In Memoriam: Max S. Peters, 1920-2011

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Former Dean Max Peters shared his playful and competitive nature with his students, racing them annually during Engineering Days, and often manipulating the rules before and during the races so that only he could win.

Max S. Peters, who will be remembered for his strong leadership and remarkable achievements over 16 years as dean of engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder―as well as for his fun-loving personality, athleticism, and service to the engineering profession―died on June 20, 2011, at the age of 90.

From 1962 to 1978, Max led the engineering school through the construction of a new, modern-day Engineering Center, and oversaw significant increases in research funding and improvements to graduate education as the eighth dean of the college. Max continued to teach and do research while dean, and wrote many technical papers and several textbooks on chemical engineering, including the widely known Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers, which is now in its 5th edition and has sold over 100,000 copies. He subsequently served as chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1981 to 1985, and retired from active duties in 1987, when he became professor emeritus of chemical engineering and dean emeritus of the college.

Max also was active in professional service, so much that the College of Engineering and Applied Science created the Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award, and presented it to him as its first recipient the year he stepped down as dean. He was also recognized as one of the Top 100 individuals in the college’s history.

Throughout his life, Max enjoyed competing in athletics, including running, skiing, ice skating, and later, race-walking. As dean, he shared his playful and competitive nature with his students, racing them annually during Engineering Days - often manipulating the rules before and during the races so that only he could win.

Max is survived by his wife of 63 years, Laurnell Stephens Peters, along with their two children, Margaret and Stephen, and four grandchildren. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Max S. Peters Graduate Fellowship Fund by writing a check to the CU Foundation with Max Peters on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: Engineering Development, 422 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309.

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