In Memory: Professor of Public Policy John E. Petersen

By Jim Greif

The Mason community mourns the death of John E. Petersen, professor of public policy and finance at Mason’s School of Public Policy. Petersen passed away on April. 4. He was an internationally known expert in government finance and financial institutions.

The School of Public Policy is hosting a webpage for mourners to share condolences. The Petersen family is also establishing a public policy lecture series on finance at Mason in his memory.

In addition to his faculty appointment, Peterson served on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), the primary regulator of the $2.7 trillion municipal bond market. In 2009, Petersen received the Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer Award.

John E. Petersen, professor of public policy and finance at Mason's School of Public Policy.

“John embodied the spirit of the school,” says Edward Rhodes, Dean of the School of Public Policy. “He was a rigorous intellectual whose contributions made a deep and lasting impact on public policy and the financial industry. We will remember him as a wonderful scholar, teacher and colleague, someone who generously devoted much energy to building and growing our community. We will miss him greatly.”

Prior to joining the faculty in 2002, he was president and division director of the Government Finance Group/ARD, a financial research and advisory firm located in Arlington, Virginia.

From 1977 to 1991, he served as Senior Director of the Government Finance Research Center, a division of the Government Finance Officers Association.

In 1972, Peterson was elected council member for the City of Fairfax and more recently served on its Economic Development Authority.

Earlier in his career, Petersen held policy positions at the National Governors Association, Securities Industry Association and the Federal Reserve Board.

Petersen authored the “Finance” column for “Governing” magazine and served on the editorial boards of “Public Budgeting and Finance,” “Municipal Finance Journal,” “Public Works Management and Policy,” and “MuniNet.”

Petersen earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and an MBA in public finance and a PhD in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Friends and colleagues are invited to attend a memorial service on Friday, April 13, at 11 a.m. at the Truro Church, 10520 Main Street, Fairfax, Va. which is located at the intersection of Main Street and Truro Lane, near Chain Bridge Road.

In lieu of flowers, Peterson’s family requests donations in his memory may be made to the George Mason University Foundation, 4400 University Drive, MS 1A3, Fairfax, VA 22030. Please note that your gift is in memory of John Petersen.