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UI Wants to Name New Residence Hall After Former Regents President

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa wants to name its new west campus residence hall after Mary Louise Petersen, an alumnus, longtime donor and former president of the Board of Regents.

The Board of Regents at its meeting next week will consider approving the Mary Louise Petersen Residence Hall designation for the building under construction just west of Riverside Drive near Hillcrest, Rienow and Slater halls.

The UI is constructing its new residence hall at a cost of $53 million. It's slated to open in fall 2015 and house 501 students.

According to regent documents, the UI wants to honor Petersen for her "long and distinguished record of service to higher education in the State of Iowa and, more specifically, for her unwavering support of her alma mater."

She graduated summa cum laude in 1951 from the UI College of Education with a bachelor's degree in science education. She was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1969 and served as president from 1973 to 1981.

During her tenure, according to the UI's request, Petersen advanced higher education by focusing on "the careful nurturing of academic culture, respect for diverse points of view and collaboration and partnership."

"Petersen was well respected in national higher education circles," according to the UI, and she was appointed to the Carnegie Corporation of New York board of trustees and named chair of the board of directors of the Association of Governing Boards for Colleges and Universities.

She and her husband have given "generously" to support UI programs, like the Pentacrest museums. She was a member of the UI Foundation board of directors from 1991 to 2006, and she's now a lifetime honorary member.

Petersen received the State of Iowa's Distinguished Service Award in 1983, and she's a member of the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.

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