Peter Dean Optimistic About College’s Future

The College’s most important legacy is a history of providing a first-class education, and that is still its goal

Peter DeanPeter Dean had no idea how much his life would change the evening he attended a party in New York and met a Randolph-Macon Woman’s College alumna.

Dean, a graduate of Cambridge University, was working as a lawyer on Wall Street when he first met Sally Abrams ’70, who was also working on Wall Street, but as an investment banker. After they were married and started a family, they moved to Atlanta, where one of his wife’s R-MWC classmates helped connect Dean with the Sutherland law firm. The 59-year-old is currently a partner specializing in the energy industry.

Dean, a British citizen, has been a resident in the United States since 1975. His father’s career and travels with the United Kingdom’s Foreign Service provided Dean with a unique perspective on the world and an introduction to American life. His father served as the United Kingdom’s representative to the United Nations in New York and later as the British Ambassador in Washington, D.C.

Before attending Cambridge to study classics and law, Peter Dean taught in India. After graduation, he qualified as a barrister in London and went to New York to work for the Wall Street firm.

Through Sally Abrams Dean’s friends and her 10 years on the Board of Trustees, Peter Dean learned a lot about his wife’s alma mater and its traditions and history. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2006, right before the coeducation decision.

“I came onto the Board having to face these issues head on,” he said. “I understood the heritage of the College as a woman’s college, but to me its most important legacy is a history of providing a first-class education, and that is still its goal.”

Virginia Hill Worden ’69 served as interim president during Dean’s first year on the Board. “I think Peter has really embraced the entire small liberal arts college experience through Randolph College,” she said. “What he brings is a new, fresher perspective, and I think he has really fallen in love with the place.”

Sally Dean said her husband has found his own place at Randolph College.

“This was my college,” she said. “Now, it’s not just my college. It’s his college, too. He has developed his own relationship with the school, and he’s given so much of himself to it because he thinks it is worthwhile.”

Peter Dean sees great potential in the future of Randolph College. “This country has benefited so much from its great variety of excellent educational institutions,” he said. “Randolph College grew directly out of that tradition and has retained the qualities and strengths that created its reputation. The College, its faculty, and staff will continue this work, and I am privileged to be able to assist.”