Gary Peer's Great Story honored

(05-14-2013)

Dr. Gary Peer thought he was out of the limelight once he concluded his speech at Adams State University's spring Commencement, May 11. But he was surprised at the subsequent luncheon with a very special honor: a Great Story on Walls in Halls.

The Adams State University Foundation created the "Great Stories on Walls in Halls" as a way to honor loved ones or alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the university. Adams State President David Svaldi claims Peer as a very important mentor and friend who encouraged him to pursue an administrative role at Adams State. Svaldi's wife, Virginia, previously worked as Peer's administrative assistant.

"It is not always possible for us to give public recognition to someone who has served a pivotal role for us in growing our aspiration and achievement," Svaldi said. "For me, Dr. Gary Peer is that person. We want to let him know how much he means to us."

Dr. Gary & Beverly Peer with Dr. David and Virginia Svaldi.

The "Great Story" plaque reads in part:

"Dr. Peer will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor, commitment to students and teaching, and his knowledge of Mark Twain. In Twain's words: 'Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.' Dr. Peer is a sunny spirit."

Peer served Adams State for a dozen years in senior level administrative positions, including Vice President for Academic Affairs and acting President. Adams State's academic accomplishments during Peer's tenure include three Program of Excellence awards from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Currently, he is interim Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs at Texas A&M University.

"This is capping a very special weekend for Bev [his wife] and me," Peer said. "This was a very, very nice thing for you to do. It touches me and Bev very deeply. We had twelve sweet, special years here, not just because of the mountains, but because you and so many others were such a joy to work with."

Peer's "Great Story" was dedicated through gifts from Dr. David and Virginia Svaldi, Dr. Ed Crowther, Connie Spencer, Dr. Don Basse, and the Adams State Department of History/Government/Philosophy.

The Foundation accepts a minimum donation of $5,000 to dedicate a Great Story with a framed photograph and plaque, which is then hung in the Student Union Building. Previous "Great Story" honorees include Dr. Robert Pollard '61, John Spencer '62, Rick Spier '88, '91, Dr. John Turano, and Johnny L. and Electra (Watson) Wilson.

By Julie Waechter