Neil E. Peterson, D.D.S., Dent ’67
As a young Iowa boy with few career plans of his own, Neil Peterson listened to the advice of his sister. A Marquette student herself, she encouraged him to come to Marquette and study dentistry.
Good advice. In addition to earning his dental degree, Neil met his wife, Bev, at Marquette, in the library of all places.
Soon after graduation, Neil was a U.S. Air Force captain stationed in rural Oklahoma. Once again, good fortune came his way when the colonel at his dental clinic designated Neil the preventive dental officer for children.
Now with definite plans to specialize in pediatric dentistry, Neil returned to Marquette School of Dentistry and Milwaukee Children’s Hospital.
Looking back, it was the perfect career choice for a man who has spent nearly 40 years working with pediatric patients, the majority of them underserved and poor.
“I do love my work,” says Neil. “Believe it or not, it keeps me young. I get more hugs and high fives from my patients every day than most people would get in a month or even a year.”
Neil’s enthusiasm for his profession, his co-workers, his patients and their families is evident. So is his love of Marquette.
Neil actively supports the Marquette School of Dentistry, mentors countless students, served on the development committee for the building of the new dental school, acted as president of the School of Dentistry Alumni Association, then served on the National Alumni Association board of directors. He was recognized as the 2003 School of Dentistry’s Alumnus of the Year.
Then there’s his love of Marquette’s athletics. Even his practice at 50th and North in Milwaukee sports a blue and gold motif with countless Marquette photos, posters and pennants. He and Bev are preferred basketball season ticket holders, and Neil has served on the selection committee for the M-Club Hall of Fame induction. Both have attended numerous events.
Neil’s life is rewarding and full. Any signs of slowing down? Not yet. “It’s harder to retire than it is to get started,” he says.