G.P. “Bud” Peterson was appointed as the 11th president of Georgia Tech on April 1, 2009. Under his leadership Georgia Tech has developed and begun the implementation of a 25-year strategic plan, exceeded the $1.5 billion goal for Campaign Georgia Tech by 20 percent, grown innovative collaborations and strategic partnerships, expanded the campus infrastructure, and increased national and global visibility. Notably in that time, applications have more than tripled, and enrollment has increased by 45 percent.
Peterson came to Georgia Tech from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he served as chancellor. Prior to that, he served as provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and on the faculty and in leadership positions at Texas A&M University for 19 years. He has worked for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Throughout his career, Peterson has played an active role in helping to establish the national education and research agendas, serving on many industry, government, and academic task forces and committees. He has served on a number of national accreditation agencies, with a focus on improving and assessing outcomes for higher education. He also has served on congressional task forces, research councils, and advisory boards, including the Office of Naval Research, NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Research Council, and the National Academy of Engineering.
A distinguished scientist, he was appointed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, and again in 2014 by President Barack Obama, to serve as a member of the National Science Board, which oversees the NSF and advises the president and Congress on national policy related to science and engineering research and education. In 2010 he was named by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. President Obama appointed him to the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) steering committee in 2011, and to the AMP 2.0 steering committee in 2013. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education. In August 2016, he became chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, the highest governing body of the NCAA.
Peterson is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and received the AIAA Distinguished Service Award in 2011. His research has focused on phase change heat transfer in both the cooling of electronic devices and spacecraft thermal control. He is widely published, authoring or co-authoring 17 books or book chapters, 240 refereed journal articles, and 146 conference publications. He also holds 16 patents, with three others pending.
Peterson earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a second bachelor's degree in mathematics, and a master's degree in engineering, all from Kansas State University. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He and his wife, Val, have four adult children, two of whom are Georgia Tech alumni.