It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor George Peters on July 8, 2014 in Oregon. George was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago but continued to enjoy teaching and conducting research until his retirement from Michigan State University on May 15, 2014.
George will be remembered as a dear colleague to all of us. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor, a dedicated scholar, a caring and effective leader, and a dear colleague to all who had the pleasure of working with him.
George received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in German from Stanford University. He came to Michigan State University in 1989 to chair the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages after spending nineteen years at the University of New Mexico, where he was named Teacher of the Year. He also served as Chair of the MSU Department of Theatre for five years as well as the Resident Director of the Academic Year in Freiburg Program two times.
George distinguished himself as a scholar of the 19th century German author Heinrich Heine and was finishing his third book on Heine at the time of his death. He was respected by graduate and undergraduate students alike for his excellent teaching, his keen understanding of German culture, his thoughtful feedback and his meticulous preparation. The range and volume of his scholarly activity were impressive. His 2003 article on “Teaching Deeper German Culture in a Proficiency-Based Curriculum” was awarded best article of the year in the journal Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German. Never one to rest on his laurels, he recently restructured his third-year German culture course as a hybrid course.
George was highly regarded by colleagues in German as a tireless advocate for the German language, having received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria as well as awards from the American Association of Teachers of German and the Goethe Institute.
Our condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends, and we will cherish our memories of him forever. We have lost a dear friend.
Donation to this fund supports MSU students studying abroad on the Academic Year in Freiburg Program in Freiburg, Germany. George Peters was a treasured friend and colleague, both on the German faculty and during his years as Chair of Linguistics and Languages. He was passionately devoted to the study of German language and literature, to the students of MSU, and particularly to study abroad.