Remembering Dr. Peter Magolda
September 2, 1956 – January 2, 2019

Peter M. Magolda, Professor Emeritus, Miami University of Ohio
Peter passed away suddenly with his wife of 33 years, Marcia Baxter Magolda, by his side.  His brother and sister and their wonderful families, including eight nieces and nephews, survive him. In addition, friends and colleagues who relished his kindness, humanity, intellect and sense of humor miss him dearly.

Peter and Marcia have enjoyed their retirement in southwest Virginia after teaching for 30+ years at Miami University of Ohio. During his retirement, Peter devoted significant time to his many passions and interests: music, photography, bird watching, politics, travel, and spending quality time with family and friends. He volunteered as a photographer and worked on political issues for Blacksburg’s AARP. His own love for learning encouraged him to become a student in Virginia Tech’s Lifelong Learning Institute.

Prior to retirement, he taught qualitative research and student cultures. His books addressed campus custodian cultures, student cultures, and contested issues in student affairs. Peter completed the latest edition, of Contested Issues in Troubled Times just before his passing. The centerpiece of Peter’s life was teaching—as a way to encourage students (and really anyone he met) to commit to lives of curiosity, to becoming more engaged with their communities and the world around them, and to developing reflective practice and a solid sense of agency. His impact on higher education and students is immeasurable.

Peter was humble and unassuming, yet bigger than life. He was always there for whomever needed him. He created comfortable spaces for all, and he always made you feel as if you were the only person who mattered. His good-will, friendly nature and kind spirit made all who met him friends, and he spent his life in service to others. He had a curiosity about people from all walks of life, loved unconditionally, and showed care, concern, and compassion for all. His presence made the world a better place. Peter was a rock on whom so many drew strength. He was always generous with his time, and he was always good company—with lots of animated discussions and even more laughter!

Peter served ACPA in many ways throughout his career including as a Governing Board Member, as the founding lead faculty for the Phyllis L. Mable New Professionals Institute, a member of the Journal of College Student DevelopmentEditorial Board, a Senior Scholar, a member of several convention planning teams, a search chair for both a JCSD and About Campus editor search, and a directorate board member of a Commission. 

In honor of Peter’s work, the Peter M. Magolda Custodian Emergency Fund at Miami University of Ohio has been established. Contributions may be made via Miami University Foundation, 725 East Chestnut Street, Oxford, OH 45056. If you prefer to give electronically, go to, and designate Peter’s memorial fund specifically.