|Posted by Alonda Nicole on May 23, 2011 at 8:01 PM|
In Loving Memory: Ira Peterson
I met Ira Peterson in the Fall of 1996 at a Young Black Scholars college fair at USC. I went over to him and expressed that I knew all about FAMU because my Brother William Maples was currently attending and that I had absolutely no interest in attending. Ira had a big smile on his face and he told me, "Oh yeah, is that right?!" He went on to tell me about how much the school has to offer both academically and socially and that he knew my brother William. He also told me I was going to attend FAMU.
This conversation went on for the next three years. I saw Ira all over Los Angeles at various college fairs and events that promoted education. He would say to me "Hey Rattler" and my ears would burn! I didn't want to go and follow my brother’s footsteps and I wanted to stay right here in California for college. Well, I want you to know Ira had his way. He never gave up on me and after attending my brother's graduation in May 1999 I applied to FAMU for the Fall 1999 semester and was admitted. I attended FAMU for 5 years studying civil engineering. Every Christmas and Summer break Ira would organize a FAMU California welcome home scholarship reception/social for current and incoming students in the Los Angeles area. I looked forward to attending those and had such a good time.
When I graduated in 2004 I moved back home and joined the FAMU Los Angeles Alumni Chapter. Guess who signed me up to work on his student recruitment committee? That’s right, Ira! It’s so funny how our paths crossed in 1996 and then almost 10 years later we were working side by side recruiting students who, just like me, didn't want to leave California. Ira had a true passion for FAMU and educating young minds. He wanted to share his passion with all the students he came in contact with. I believe he did just that. It won me over and many, many others. I enjoyed working along side him spreading the word about our alma mater. Ira was a good man and I am so proud to have been able to work with him and all him a friend.
Student Recruitment Committee
Some years ago, I recall attending the Angel City Classic at the coliseum in LA, with a few friends and I had on a FAMU T-shirt. Ira and Gerald were walking up the stairs and Ira saw my shirt and he and Gerald came over and introduced themselves to me. Not only was I elated to see fellow Rattlers, but I have been meaning to reach out to the alumni chapter once I moved there in 1996, but never got around to it. I was so happy that I was able to meet them and get information on the chapter. Every time there was a function in LA regarding recruitment or conferences involving colleges, FAMU was well represented by Ira!
Anyway, from that day on, when I would attend the meetings and activities we had, Ira was there, greeting and smiling...a very quiet gentleman. In October 2010, I relocated back to my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, but I will never forget the people my daughter (Laila) and I had the pleasure of meeting. I truly appreciate you all for embracing us.
Amelia Davis, MBA
B.S. Business Economics, Class of 1995
I first met Ira via e-mail when I was interested in helping with the Black College Expo. In the e-mail I would say, "Mr. Peterson..." he quickly brought that to an end and told me we didn't have to make this a professional conversation. When I finally met him at the Black College Expo he gave me a hug as if we've known each other for years. I was most impressed that he remembered my name. He was so kind and loved FAMU immensely. The FAMU community has lost a very true Rattler.
Public Relations, Class of 2010
While I did not have the pleasure of being recruited to FAMU by Ira Peterson, I am a witness of his tireless efforts to make sure the university was represented at ALL of the southern California Black College Fairs. Ira understood the importance of a higher education for today’s young people. Additionally, he wanted students to experience the rich education that is available at a historically Black university like Florida A&M University.
Ira would be the first to arrive and the last to leave. He would print hundreds of college applications and brochures to make sure our tables were informative and visually pleasing. Along with recruiting students, he was constantly recruiting FAMU alumni to spend an afternoon representing their alma mater and demonstrating what it truly means to bleed “orange and green!” Ira was a gentleman and a leader. We will truly miss his presence and his tenacious spirit for our children!
Public Relations, Class of 2001
“A Spirit of compassion…giving from the heart,” are words that describe Ira.
Tireless warrior, who made every effort to make one feel comfortable. One conversation with Ira, and you felt instantly at home. As a member of the FAMU Alumni Association, I remember Ira’s tireless efforts to recruit students. He went to many a workshop, college fair or high school searching for the best and the brightest; and offering hope for those wondering what would be their next step.
At times there would be other alumni who would accompany him, other times Ira would go by himself because he understood the single importance of influencing and changing someone’s life.
I remember one FAMU hopeful who was the sister of a friend of mine. To my surprise, she was at the luncheon. She came on insistence from Ira to learn more about FAMU and to meet fellow alumni. Ira stood like a proud father as he introduced her as the next FAMUan.
Education and seeking the truth were important to Ira. He worked very hard to keep one informed on the world, no matter if you were an adult, or a graduating senior in high school. He always wanted to make sure that everyone played on the same playing field, and of course all were welcome. I will miss Ira and the intellectual talks, the students, and his tireless efforts. I know Ira is the exemplary FAMUan on the other side now, and will influence others in a different sense. We will Miss You, Ira. I will Miss You, Ira.
Categories: SoCal Rattler News