Professor Peter Lake wins ‘Everyday Hero in Education’ award

Peter Lake
Peter Lake

Peter Lake, professor of law and director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, was honored as a winner in the “Everyday Hero in Education” contest from Margaritaville.

Throughout the past year, the hospitality company called for nominations nationally for favorite teachers, counselors, administrators and coaches. Officials announced July 9 they had received thousands of stories of remarkable educators who were changing communities in impactful ways. Of those, they toasted 18 winners with getaways to a Margaritaville property. Lake won a trip to Margaritaville Beach Resort Costa Rica.

“I was touched by the overwhelming support I received in the process following nomination,” Lake said. “The pool of nominees [was] from all walks of teaching, and I was thrilled that Margaritaville recognized graduate level instructors as teachers. I proudly represent law school instructors (and truly all graduate level instructors) in the select group of award winners—especially those who answered the call during the pandemic.”

Lake also thanked Stetson and its leaders “for creating a 30-plus year platform of instruction that made this recognition possible. I am especially grateful to Dean Jacob, who so many years ago gave me the chance to have my dream job and space to learn to teach in my own unique way.” 

Sofia McDaniel, a 2021 graduate of Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law, nominated Lake for the award. He helped her find a program of instruction related to education that suited her. Lake said he was just doing his job; the Center for Excellence in Higher Education regularly provides such guidance to students and professionals. But it made a big impact on McDaniel, who is now chief executive officer at Equitable Education Advocates in St. Petersburg.

“Professor Peter brought serenity to my life and single handedly shaped my law school experience,” she wrote in her nomination. “He is the reason why I am a first-generation lawyer and now the founder of a special education advocacy center.”

The award was based in part on voting but also on other factors; at one point Lake was No. 3 in overall voting with more than 2,600 votes from people around the country whose lives he impacted directly or indirectly.

Blaze Bowers, J.D. ’21, served as Lake’s teaching assistant for nearly three years and shared news of the award on LinkedIn. He praised his teacher and mentor, saying, “You have touched more lives than you will ever know.”

“Professor Lake, as anyone who has had him for class knows, is more than an ordinary professor,” Bowers wrote. “He is a true teacher in every respect—caring, wise, knowledge, and accessible. Professor Lake has taught at Stetson University College of Law for 30 years, training jurists and bettering the lives of countless students. He exemplifies everything this award hopes to recognize.”

McDaniel agreed in a comment on the post.

“Professor Lake is a remarkable individual and getting him to Margaritaville was the least I could do to thank him for his mentorship,” she wrote.