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Otterbein Towers: Pete Sanderson - Legacy of Computer Science

Otterbein Towers: Pete Sanderson - Legacy of Computer Science


Editor's Note: This and other stories appear in the Summer 2017 edition of Otterbein Towers Magazine, available online now.


While reflecting on life on his 30th birthday, Professor Pete Sanderson decided to leave behind a lucrative career in software development at General Tire.

“I thought at the time, even though I was doing well, I just felt kind of empty,” Sanderson recalled. “I asked myself, ‘who had the greatest impact on my own life?’ Outside of my family and closest friends, it was my computer science professors. They had nurtured and mentored me, tolerated my mistakes, and celebrated my successes. If I could do the same for others, I concluded, then that would be my contribution.”

Sanderson decided to follow in the footsteps of his professors at Bowling Green State University, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991, Sanderson taught ten years at Missouri State University before he and his wife, Nancy, moved back to Ohio in 2001 to be closer to their aging parents. Fortunately, for Otterbein, there was an opening for a computer science professor that year and Sanderson joined the Otterbein faculty.

Sanderson taught computer science for 16 years at Otterbein, and served as chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences from 2010 to 2016. Sanderson retired from the University this past spring, but his legacy will live on. He established the Pete Sanderson Computer Science Endowed Scholarship.

“One word summarizes the core of my teaching philosophy — respect,” Sanderson said. “I respect the values of a liberal arts education. I respect my discipline and, above all, I respect my students as learners and as human beings.  I believe that by following this philosophy I have been able to impact students’ lives for the better. Through this endowed scholarship, I can continue to impact students’ lives long into the future.”


Read the entire Summer 2017 edition of Otterbein Towers Magazine online now.