Employee Honors Son with New Fund for Homeless Students


File Photo: Students Connie Cheng, Hae Song Lee and Nathan Castillo volunteered at the Comet Cupboard, filling bags with food for Thanksgiving in 2013. The Comet Cupboard is a UT Dallas food pantry initiative dedicated to helping students in need.
Longtime employee Rosie Peterson has established a new UT Dallas endowed fund for homeless and vulnerable students to honor the memory of her son, Douglas Aundre Peterson.
Douglas died in 2018 at age 48 after an illness. He worked for Walmart Inc. in Dallas before moving to Mobile, Alabama, where he grew up, the year before he died. Peterson, director of institutional diversity initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, said her son was known for helping others.
Douglas Aundre Peterson
“He had a servant attitude about life,” Peterson said. “He didn’t have much, but he would share whatever he had with people. Everybody always told me he had a good heart.”
The Douglas Aundre Peterson Fund for Homeless Students will provide funds to help vulnerable students meet their basic needs. The University is raising donations for the fund, which is not yet open to applications.
“Students can use it for different causes. Maybe they’re having problems paying their rent, or buying books,” Peterson said. “It’s built around need.”
Rosie Peterson
Through the fund, Peterson hopes that her son’s giving spirit can continue to help others.
“After Douglas died, I was so distraught, and I didn’t want to let go. He was my only child, so I thought, ‘If I don’t do something, no one will ever know he lived,’” Peterson said. “I wanted to do something to make sure that Douglas would be remembered.”
Donate or learn more about the fund here. Gifts to the fund can also be made on Comets Giving Day, which is Aug. 5-6.
–Kim Horner