|Educator earns Livingstone Hall of Fame|
|Elijah Peterson also a community leader, activist|
|Published Thursday, June 6, 2013 2:07 pm|
Elijah Peterson of Rockingham has been inducted into the Livingstone College Hall of Fame.
A 1956 graduate of Livingstone, Peterson is a former educator, child’s advocate, community leader and political activist. For the past 16 years, he has served as chairman of the board for Richmond County Community Support, which serves Richmond, Montgomery and Moore counties.
Peterson was among 14 recipients honored at the 12th annual Celebration of Livingstone College Leaders Banquet earlier this year in Salisbury.
The tribute “recognizes successful leaders for their undying commitment and dedication to others,” said Jimmy Jenkins Sr., Livingstone's president. “This award is being bestowed upon individuals who have given tirelessly of themselves as they serve their communities and/or professions, and have demonstrated the qualities of a servant leader.”
He credits Livingstone, where he entered as a freshman at age 16, for providing the foundation for his educational and professional life. After graduating from Livingstone College with a bachelor’s in mathematics, Peterson continued his education at North Carolina A&T State University, where he earned a Master of Science degree in 1961, and a Master of Arts degree in chemistry in 1965.
He was awarded a special certification in physics by UNC-Chapel Hill in 1962 and was one of the first to be selected for certification to teach modern physics. This curriculum was designed to prepare students to understand research being performed by the NASA Space Program.
As an educator, Peterson served as a teacher and principal. He taught math, chemistry and physics in three different high schools including Peabody in Troy, Booker T. Washington in Reidsville and Charles Drew.
For 26 years, he served as principal of five different schools including Cameron Morrison State Training School for Boys in Hoffman and Samarkand Manor for Girls in Eagle Springs.
Peterson won Principal of the Year in 1986 and North Carolina Citizen of the Year in 2012 by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; although he is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. In 1976, North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt appointed Peterson to his Advocacy Council on Children and Youth, where he served for 26 years. In 1989, Gov. Jim Martin appointed him chairman of the same and he held that position for eight years.
He has also served as chairperson of the Eighth Congressional District of the N.C. Democratic Party; state chairman of the Black Leadership Caucus; on the board of trustees for Montgomery Community College; is a life member of the NAACP; and trustee board chairman for Mt. Zion United Church of Christ.
Carrie Peterson, his wife of 54 years; their three daughters, Clairice, Valerice and Laurice; and his brother, Robert; as well as other family members and friends attended this special occasion in Peterson’s life. He was the only recipient to receive a standing ovation.
Prior to the event, Peterson was the guest of honor at a reception at a local hotel in Salisbury, where he was showered with kind and loving words.
In his unselfish and humble nature, Peterson did not accept full credit for his accomplishments. “I am extraordinarily grateful for all the encouragement and support I have received from the wide range of individuals I interacted with while carrying out my life’s work. In the words of the English poet, John Donne, ‘No man is an island.’”
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