1975 Valedictorian: Margaret “Peggy” (Pederson) Perry

For a young Peggy Pedersen attending college would not have been financially feasible had it not been for Ohlone College.  “My family did not have the money to pay for college.  Since no tuition was charged (at Ohlone) at that time, attending college was still possible.”  She was able to live at home and work part-time to pay for her textbooks and supplies.

Peggy thoroughly enjoyed her time at Ohlone.  She found the classes were relatively small and students were able to communicate with their professors.  She was fairly certain she wanted to major in accounting, but not positive.  Peggy states, “The community college experience allowed me to take a broad spectrum of classes and confirm this was the right direction for me.”

Peggy started attending Ohlone in 1973 when it was still located at the temporary campus at the Serra Center on Washington Boulevard.  For her second year the college moved into its new permanent campus on Mission Boulevard.  “What an improvement from the prior facilities!” Peggy says.  “It was wonderful having brand new buildings and a true campus.”

The years Peggy went to Ohlone (1973-75) were turbulent years for our country.  She found her U.S. History class fascinating, especially as the country was in the middle of the Watergate hearings leading to the resignation of Richard Nixon.  She remembers students turning on their car radios, “…to find out what had happened while we were in class.”  She also remembers the gas shortages at that time and the need to plan ahead to avoid the lines in order to have enough gas to get to and from classes.

Peggy went on from Ohlone to San Jose State and graduated in 1977 with a B.S. in Business with a concentration in Accounting.  She started her career in the management training program for Standard Oil of California and worked in the Internal Audit Department.  She enjoyed the work and found it very interesting.  She was able to learn about the many different facets of the company.

After having a family, Peggy started her own accounting firm specializing in non-profit organizations.  She then went on to a 24-year career in school finance.  She worked for the San Lorenzo Unified School Department for two years before moving to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) in 1992.  For the next 22 years Peggy worked in various positions in the business office at SRVUSD before retiring in 2014 as the Director of Fiscal Services.

Now Peggy enjoys spending time with her family, which includes two granddaughters.  She also likes to travel and spend time outdoors.  She sings in her church choir and tutors adults who speak English as a second language.