August 5, 2008 by Justin Bannister NMSU News Center
Robin Peterson, marketing professor at New Mexico State University, will serve as the first holder of the Robin T. Peterson Endowed Chair in Marketing. Brad Gordon, a successful former NMSU student, created the chair in Peterson’s honor with a donation valued at more than half a million dollars.
“The intent all along was to honor Dr. Peterson’s accomplishments,” Gordon said. “Management is compensated on the value of the assets they manage. Instructors are charged with managing the young minds of our world. I can’t imagine managing an asset more valuable. Those who can should give back to education.”
The Peterson chair was created when Gordon donated 10,000 shares of Celgene stock, valued at more than $500,000, to the College of Business. The chair received matching funds from the state, bringing the total endowment to more than $1 million. Earnings from the endowment are used to support the salary of the faculty member holding the chair, as well as program development and other needs.
“This is an honor and certainly reflects the benevolence of one of our alumni,” said Peterson. “Brad is an outstanding individual. Not only is he truly brilliant and successful, he has always had tremendous people skills.”
Gordon earned a degree in marketing from NMSU in 1978. He graduated near the top of his class in business, a major accomplishment for someone who had failed in previous attempts to obtain a degree at other universities.
A career counselor in Los Angeles advised Gordon to attend college in New Mexico where his earlier academic records would not be considered and where he could start anew, giving him a chance at rebuilding a GPA needed to enter graduate school someday.
“From the time I first met him, he was always very inquisitive,” Peterson said of Gordon. “He’d ask questions about marketing not covered in the course or the book. He just wanted to know.”
Gordon often speaks of his experience at NMSU, saying he first went through a serious culture shock coming from the Midwest to the desert in New Mexico. Gordon credits NMSU’s small class sizes and the up-close and personal nature of the university for his success.
“I found myself at New Mexico State. I learned to believe in my abilities and talents, and to put them to use in an impactful way,” Gordon said. “I learned how to succeed.”
After finishing school, Gordon worked in venture capital and then turned to launching several companies in tandem with other entrepreneurs. Since 1981 Gordon has been involved in the startup of eleven companies, mostly in the biotech field.
There are now four, $1 million or more chairs in the College of Business. They include the Mountain States Insurance Group Endowed Chair, The Garrey E. and Katherine T. Carruthers Chair in Economic Development, the Robin T. Peterson Endowed Chair in Marketing and the Stan Fulton Chair in Business.