Peter Urone, Outstanding University Service Award

photo: Peter Urone
Peter Urone

Sometimes it’s difficult to get people to volunteer but not Sacramento State physics and astronomy professor Peter Urone. In his 35-year tenure here, he has been active on numerous committees, and his volunteer spirit helped earn him the 2007-2008 Outstanding University Service Award.

Urone has been on the University’s General Education Committee, the Animal Care and Use Committee, the University Transportation and Parking Committee and has been the director of the Central Valley Science Fair and a member of the Faculty Senate.

He’s done it all it seems, but his most impressive work might have been in bringing the American Association of Physics Teachers’ annual meeting to Sacramento State in 2004.

“The meeting came off very well and set a record for attendance. We had about 1,100 people for the event,” he says. “It was a thrill to see all those folks here.”

Although hosting the event required a lot of work and coordination, Urone says it was well worth it. “There is a lot of goodwill created by these types of events, and you gain certain things. For instance, when you seek grants, you are better connected and can do state-of-the-art proposals.”

Urone has also been instrumental in bringing distinguished speakers to the campus, including Nobel laureates James Watson and Felix Bloch.

Urone came to the campus in 1973 and says he was the youngest person in the physics and astronomy department. He is now one of the senior members and has elected to participate in the Faculty Early Retirement Program.

 “I’ll stay active,” he says. “I’ll still come around for departmental functions, seminars and colloquium.”

Part of his legacy will include two textbooks he authored on physics. “I put a lot of myself into these over the years,” he says, “about 5,000 hours on one and 18,000 hours on the other.”

He says he’ll leave it to his co-authors to continue to update the books. “I hope they keep going, but I won’t be here for it.”


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Sacramento State’s Mike Ward can be reached at