Meet Heath: Part 2

Posted on Jan 22, 2016 in Alumni News and News

Adams Alumni Center in winter
KU Alumni Association President Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, was unanimously elected by the national board of directors in November 2015. Get to know President Peterson through this six-part series titled Meet Heath. Last week’s inaugural installment explained how Heath became a Jayhawk, and this week you’ll learn how he began his career at the KU Alumni Association. Enjoy!

How did your career at the KU Alumni Association begin?

During the second semester of my freshman year at KU, my girlfriend (now wife) worked for the Alumni Association as a receptionist on the first floor of the Adams Alumni Center. She secured the job through a connection she made with the director of the Kansas Honors Program, an Association program that annually recognizes the top 10 percent of high school seniors in Kansas. Carrie was a Kansas Honor Scholar and received the Woodward Scholarship from the Alumni Association.

During my second semester at KU, the Association had an opening for a “blue shirt” position. “Blue Shirt” is a term we still use today to describe students who work in banquet services and maintain the appearance and cleanliness of the Alumni Center. Naturally, they wear blue KU alumni polo shirts. My girlfriend put in a good word for me, Bernie Nordling served as a reference, and Mike Wellman hired me.

My first opportunity in a professional position occurred when Bryan Greve, senior vice president for hospitality services, and our interim president at the time, Del Shankel, promoted me to director of the Adams Alumni Center. Later, Kevin Corbett hired me in 2005 for a newly created position focused on developing alumni networks in the state of Kansas. At that point, I made the decision to pursue a career in alumni relations.

It’s bizarre for me to look back and realize how the Alumni Association began to make connections with both my wife and me before we became KU students. If not for the Nordlings, my wife’s brains and the Kansas Honors Program, I would likely be in a different career, and I might have suffered the misfortune of not being a Jayhawk.

Next time, learn about Heath’s favorite KU tradition. Have a question or comment to share? Email us at

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