Jim Peterson's Legacy Creates a Better Tomorrow

Jim Peterson

Alumnus Arvid "Jim" Peterson used his will to extend his support of environmental engineering at Sacramento State.

Arvid "Jim" Peterson was passionate about the environment, and that passion drove him to a career in environmental engineering. After his undergraduate degree, Jim worked in the private sector in environmental science and soon found himself at the forefront of many different types of assignments across the country. These projects included air quality studies, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites, and alternative energy projects.

Jim enjoyed his career and his work, but he soon realized that those who were getting ahead in their careers were individuals that possessed an engineering degree. "I recognized that if I get an engineering degree, I can further my career the way I want to—and that's what I did."

Jim took a chance and signed up for civil engineering graduate classes at Sacramento State. He focused his coursework on environmental engineering and completed his Master of Science degree. The projects and connections he made in his graduate program led to his 17-year career at the California Air Resources Board.

Twenty-five years later, Jim decided to give back to the university that helped him to move forward with his career. He established the Arvid J. Peterson Fund in Environmental Engineering at Sacramento State and designated a gift to the fund in his will.

He saw the growing need for individuals trained to effectively handle environmental crises. "There's no shortage of environmental problems; they're not going away. There is plenty of work out there, and plenty of opportunities."

The Arvid J. Peterson Fund in Environmental Engineering will help with the hiring and funding of faculty that will continue to teach the environmental engineering courses he considered essential for his career. Funds will also support developing new courses and purchasing equipment and maintaining the labs.

Jim admitted that his decision to support Sacramento State's environmental engineering wasn't a lifelong ambition, nor was it something he had initially planned to do. However, after making sure close family members were financially secure, and after donating to several other organizations, he began to consider the impact of donating to an institute of higher education. An endowed fund with Sacramento State became an obvious choice.

To those considering making a gift to Sacramento State through their own will or trust plans, Jim recognized that the choice is "highly personal." For Jim, he was confident in the decision he made to give back to Sac State. "I would like to see that there are people out there that have some of the skills I had, and to do some good with them."

Jim passed away in November 2021. For generations, students pursuing environmental engineering will benefit from Jim's gift, and his legacy will have a lasting impact at Sacramento State, in our community, and for our world.

To learn how you can make a gift to Sacramento State and leave a lasting legacy, please contact Lora L. Hollingsworth at (916) 278-6115 or lora.hollingsworth@csus.edu.