A native of Montpelier, Idaho, Ross graduated from Utah State in 1965. He then completed a PhD at Washington State University in 1968. After three years at the University of Texas-Arlington, he returned to USU in 1971. He served as Department Head from 1976-1984 and has Director of the Mountain West Center from 1986-1996, and from 2001-2003. In 2004, he was selected as the President of Deep Springs College and returned to USU as Vice President of Advancement from 2007-2011. A Full Professor, he currently is a Special Assistant to the President. Peterson teaches Recent American History as well as courses in African American Studies. His publications include a biography of Idaho Senator Glen H. Taylor and histories of Idaho, Cache County, and Ogden, Utah. He is in the process of completing many writing projects. From 1987-1992 he edited, Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought and he also served as chair for the Utah Humanities Council. His wife Kay, and all three of his sons have USU degrees.