President and Leadership

Dr. Polly Peterson, President

Dr. Polly (Larson) Peterson ’89 became the University of Jamestown’s fourteenth President on March 1, 2018.

Under her leadership as President, UJ has seen growth both in the form of enrollment, program, creation and building development.

Dr. Peterson has served the University for 29 years, first as Controller in the Business Office; as a faculty member in the Department of Business, Accounting, and Economics; as Vice President for Institutional Advancement; and as Executive Vice President.

Dr. Peterson holds a Ph.D. in higher education – institutional analysis from North Dakota State University and an M.B.A. from Regis University. Her undergraduate degrees in accounting and business administration are from the University of Jamestown.

Dr. Peterson holds memberships in the North Dakota State Board of Accountancy and the American Association of Certified Public Accountants. She has participated in the American Academic Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership Academy and has been named to the Top 25 Women in Business by Prairie Business Magazine. She was named Outstanding Woman Leader in 2018 by the Jamestown Zonta Club.

Dr. Peterson has co-led a session at the Council of Independent Colleges’ Presidents Institute, “Cultivating the Leadership Pipeline.” She is also a member of the Anne Carlsen Center Board of Directors and the Sanford Health Network Board of Directors.

Dr. Peterson and her husband, Darin, have three grown children.






Paul Olson, Provost

Dr. Paul Olson joined the University of Jamestown in the summer of 2014 after teaching sociology at Briar Cliff University for nine years and serving as the Chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Since coming to the University of Jamestown, Provost Olson have overseen the development of several new academic programs, including the Ph.D. in Clinical Research, masters’ degrees in Teacher Leadership, Clinical Counseling, and Leadership, and bachelors’ degrees in Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Digital Design, and Behavioral Health. He has also played important roles in the expansion of the University of Jamestown in Fargo, North Dakota, and to Phoenix, Arizona, and the establishment of the Unruh School of Character in Leadership.

Dr. Olson earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Nebraska with specializations in the sociology of religion and racial, ethnic, and gender inequality. His research has been published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Innovative Higher Education, The Journal of Popular Culture, and the Journal of Religion and Society. Prior to earning his Ph.D., Dr. Olson completed a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Northern Iowa.

Provost Olson and his wife, Teresa, have three daughters: Phoebe, Siddha, and Daphne.


UJ’s Cabinet is made up of leaders from the University who are responsible for providing support to the President, assisting with strategic matters, and enhancing communication within the University and the community.
Brett Moser

Brett Moser

  • Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations