Criticized by faculty and students, president of Hood College resigns


Shirley D. Peterson, who survived a vote of no confidence from the Hood College faculty and student petitions for new leadership last fall, has announced that she will quit as president of the Frederick school on June 30.

The 59-year-old Peterson, who signed a contract last year through 2004, could not be reached for comment Friday.

"This is part of the life cycle of colleges," said Allen Flora, a professor of physics and acting dean. "Presidents come and go."

Complaints centered on Peterson's leadership style. Critics said the president accepted little help in making decisions, particularly cutbacks to handle a $2.7 million deficit in fiscal 1999.

The school's board of trustees backed Peterson. Board chairman Carol L. Allen said Friday she regretted Peterson's departure.

"The trustees are deeply saddened by Mrs. Peterson's resignation," Allen said in a statement. "We are grateful for her outstanding contributions to Hood."

A tax lawyer who was commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service under President Bush, Peterson was a newcomer to academia when she took the job in 1995. Becoming the president of a women's college, she said, fulfilled a lifelong dream.

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