Bob Peterson

May 30, 2018

Buena Vista University has received a generous $500,000 gift from the Bob and Ginny Peterson Foundation to support the Robert L. Peterson Commodity Trading Room. The trading room will be housed in BVU’s Harold Walter Siebens School of Business as part of the first phase of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum renovation, which is expected to be completed in December.  

“Buena Vista University is grateful to the Peterson family for their generous gift to the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business,” said BVU President Joshua D. Merchant. “The gift ensures that our students continue to have front row access to top-notch spaces and educational experiences. In particular, the Robert L. Peterson Commodity Trading Room will allow the institution to build upon efforts to support and nurture our new agricultural programs.” 

According to Lisa Kesting Best, interim dean of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business at BVU, the innovative trading room will foster collaborative learning through real-world business problems and allow students to apply theoretical concepts using real time data. The space will include a stock ticker device, dual monitors, software, and terminals that are similar to those found in large investment firms.

“The gift ensures that our students continue to have front row access to top-notch spaces and educational experiences. In particular, the Robert L. Peterson Commodity Trading Room will allow the institution to build upon efforts to support and nurture our new agricultural programs.”

BVU President Joshua D. Merchant

“In this state-of-the-art facility, the trading room floor will become our students’ classroom,” said Kesting Best. “In the role of analyst, our students will be able to use this space to manage a six-figure stock portfolio, learn about the commodities market, analyze real time data, and make buy-sell decisions.”    

One of IBP’s first cattle buyers when the meat packing company was established in 1961, Robert “Bob” Peterson rose through the ranks of the company, serving as chairman and chief executive officer for more than 20 years. He retired in September 2001 after Tyson Foods acquired the business, making it one of the world’s largest meat companies. Bob passed away in 2004 after a seven-month battle with cancer. 

Bob and his wife, Ginny, established the Bob and Ginny Peterson Foundation approximately 25 years ago to help others in need – particularly underprivileged children. Over the years, much of the foundation’s resources have been put toward schools, scholarships, and other causes and initiatives aimed at ensuring the success of young people.      

Mark Peterson, who is the son of Bob and Ginny and was a member of BVU’s Board of Trustees from 2012-2015, said BVU’s recent launch of its Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management, paired with his father’s long and successful career in agriculture, made the gift to BVU an easy decision.   

“Our family is excited to be part of such a great project and time of growth and opportunity at BVU,” said Mark. “My father’s love for the region and the ag industry makes this an incredibly special way for our family to honor his memory.” 

Kesting Best added, “This generous gift from the Bob and Ginny Peterson Foundation will ensure that through Robert L. Peterson’s legacy, the business leaders of tomorrow will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and extraordinary educational experiences that will give them the competitive advantage they need in today’s challenging market. It will be the perfect place for students to learn and do business.”