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Article published September 21, 2013

Professor’s guidance

GG John Reddick AIA
Butler

I am sure I speak for many students in offering sympathies to the family of Dr. Orvan Peterson, who passed away recently.
Peterson was a kind and gentle English professor. He loved teaching and spent many years welcoming students to Butler Community College and assuring us that we were capable of producing college-level work.
I had the good fortune of taking one of Professor Peterson’s English classes in the fall semester of 1982. The class focused on writing. Peterson did not choose a typical overpriced, overweight college textbook. He simply asked each student to purchase a pocket-sized, reasonably priced, paperback available in any bookstore. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is a classic. I reference the book often. I carry a later edition in my workbag and, to this day, give gift copies to friends.
Peterson encouraged his students to sit, each day, and write our thoughts in a clear, succinct manner. That exercise alone, over time, improves a writer’s ability.
Professor Peterson will be missed. I will think of him, as I often have over the past 30 years, each time I sit down with my pen in hand or keyboard at my fingertips — and the Elements of Style never far from reach.



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