The director of Toreador media, Susan Peterson, is retiring from the College of Media & Communication after almost 37 years of dedication towards her staff and students.

Peterson started her career with Toreador Media as an advertising manager, with a staff of students and the responsibility of selling ads for a daily printed newspaper.

One of her students on the advertising staff and current advertising manager for Toreador Media, Dawn Zuerker, said the day she applied to be a part of the student advertising staff, she was late to the interview because of the pouring rain. 

While late and apologetic, Zuerker said she was dripping all over Peterson's office and expected her to be angry but instead her now friend was understanding and caring.

“I think it was that moment that I realized that this woman would be a friend, would be a person that you could go to in any situation, and she would still be the most positive person you've ever met in your entire life,” Zuerker said. 

Once Zuerker saw her transition into the Director of Toreador Media she said she saw a continued dedication toward student success.

“(Susan) went from really having to pay attention to like 12 students to 50 plus students some years,” Zuerker said. 

Shortly after she was named the director, Peterson began her masters degree at Texas Tech in higher education.

“So (Susan) really wanted to, you know, guard herself with enough knowledge to do a great job. She didn't just want to float through and scrape by,” the associate director and advisor of Student Media, Sheri Lewis said.

Throughout her years in the Toreador Media, Peterson has had an open door policy both for her students and staff.

“When there have been difficult times in the newsroom, when we've struggled with certain situations in the newsroom, I was able to go to her,” Lewis said. “ I knew I could talk to her and tell her what's going on and and and knew that I had her support.”

Peterson and the business manager for Toreador Media, Kristi Deitiker both delivered papers on a weekly basis in the spring of 2022 across the Tech campus when no one was available to do so. 

“I mean, she's not only is she a boss, she's a good friend,” Deitiker said. “I think she genuinely cares about her staff. I mean, it's like we're it's to me it's kind of almost up to her family.”

 “I mean, you know, when you work, eight to five every day, you're with people that you work with more than you are at home. So it's just kind of, I just feel like Susan and I are very close,” Deitiker added.

When asked what their favorite memory with Peterson was, Lewis and Deitiker paused, thinking for a few minutes before both saying there were too many things to say.

Finally after thinking and selecting one, Lewis said when a former photography advisor, Darrel Thomas died, Peterson made sure there were funds and space available to honor the long-time member of the Toreador Media community.

“I think that just kind of sticks out to me that that just speaks of being a good person, of course. And I think that made a lot of the one who came back for the ceremony really, really happy and I think it was just it spoke a lot about (Susan),” Lewis said. 

Another sentimental memory the pair had with Peterson was Christmas. Every Christmas, Peterson would give the entire Toreador faculty the same gift but a different color, personalization or some sort of uniqueness. 

Lewis and Deitiker said this uniqueness in gifts showed them how much thought and effort she put into those around her, giving the staff different things such as Tech mugs, gear and more.

Peterson bleeds scarlet and black, graduating from Texas Tech, watching her daughters walk the graduation stage and being an avid Tech football fan.

During the Texas Tech versus Baylor football game, Peterson was recognized as a guest coach, honored at the Jones AT&T Stadium. Deitiker said Peterson did not want to make a big deal about her departure but she and the rest of Toreador Media staff secretly made sure she would be recognized in a place she calls home. 

The dedication Peterson has for Texas Tech and the students will not change despite her departure from the position.

“She wants nothing more than for the students who come through here to succeed and for the legacy of this publication to continue,” Lewis said. “I know she's been very focused in trying to ensure the continued success for the publication and setting up the program to make sure this program continues and that it's strong.”

 “I'm quite sure that if we have alumni functions, and when we celebrate our own Centennial in 2025 She'll be here and she'll be in red and black,” Lewis added.

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