Search Committee Chairman's Biography

profile photo of R. Norman Peters

R. Norman Peters, Esq., of Paxton, MA is the founding partner of the Worcester-based law firm Peters & Sowyrda. His practice is primarily focused in business, including real estate law. He earned a bachelor's degree with honors in economics from Clark University, his Juris Doctor's law degree from Boston University School of Law and a master's of law degree in taxation from New York University School of Law. Mr. Peters is a member of the Worcester County Bar Association.

Among his professional affiliations, Mr. Peters is a member of the Board of Directors of Commerce Bank & Trust and Biomedical Research Models, Inc. He is also involved in several real estate partnerships in Greater Worcester, including: Co-Developer, Executive House Condominium, Worcester, MA; Co-Developer, Red Sleigh Condominium, Campton, NH; Co-Developer, Blackstone Smithfield Corporation (former Tupperware Plant), North Smithfield, RI; and Co-Developer, Elm-Linden Development Trust, Worcester, MA.

Among his volunteer activities, Mr. Peters is a member of the UMass Foundation, Boston. He is also a Director and past Chair of the UMass Memorial Foundation, which raises charitable funds from private philanthropic sources on behalf of UMass Medical School. In that role, he has been instrumental in identifying and introducing numerous leadership donor prospects to the Medical School. He also served as a member of the UMass Medical School Chancellor's Search Committee, and Chair of the Annual Leadership Giving. A longtime supporter of the Medical School and its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care, the University of Massachusetts Medical School awarded Mr. Peters an Honorary Degree in June 2004.

Mr. Peters has served on numerous Boards of Directors/Boards of Trustees including the following organizations: Clark University, Worcester Better Business Bureau, Children's Friend, Worcester County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the New England Science Center and the Paxton (MA) Housing Partnership. He also served as an officer of the Clark University Alumni Association, was the founding Chair of Clark's leadership annual giving club, the Jonas Clark Fellows, and served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Members Council of the Worcester Art Museum, and served as a Trustee of Becker College and as a member of its Presidential Search Committee.

Mr. Peters was appointed to the University of Massachusetts' Board of Trustees in September 2009 and reappointed in 2014, and serves as the Board’s Vice Chair. He serves as Vice Chair of the Governance Committee. He is also a member of the Committee on Administration and Finance and the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs. He served as Chair of the Advancement Committee, Chair of the Athletics Task Force and as Vice Chair of the Law School Task Force. In addition, Mr. Peters chaired the Evaluation Committees of President Robert Caret and Chancellor Michael Collins, University of Massachusetts Medical School and was a member of the search committee that selected Chancellor Divina Grossman, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Martin Meehan as President of the University of Massachusetts.

He chaired the Search Committee that selected Jacqueline Moloney as Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Lowell and chaired the Search Committee that selected Robert Johnson, Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.