The Stetson Flag Wherever They Go

Jeanne Peterson and her husband volunteered at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and were walking beside the luge track when something caught their eye.

Off to the side, a woman was holding a huge Stetson University banner. She was the mother of a Stetson student athlete and she hoped her daughter would see the banner on TV when the luge competition came on.

Jeanne Peterson, now administrative assistant to the Dean of the Stetson School of Music, and husband Ernie liked the idea so much that they have taken it with them on their travels ever since.

Three photos: Ernie Peterson hold a Stetson banner at a concrete marker for the 45th parallel north in Maine: The couple hold a larger banner at Machu Picchu, Peru; and Ernie holds a flag in front of statute, Christ the Redeemer, looming tall behind him, in Brazil.
From left to right: Ernie Peterson holds a Stetson flag at the 45th parallel north in Maine last month; Ernie and Jeanne Peterson show a Stetson School of Business Administration banner at Machu Picchu, Peru, in 2013; and Ernie Peterson hold the Stetson flag in front of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro last summer.

Last summer, they flew to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympics and Ernie, a volunteer in the media center, held up a Stetson flag in front of Christ the Redeemer. He did the same last month when the couple visited the 45th parallel north in Maine, the so-called halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole.

Other photos show the couple holding a Stetson banner at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010. And they almost got arrested when they held up a Stetson School of Business Administration banner at Machu Picchu, Peru, in 2013, when Jeanne worked as the assistant to the Dean of the School of Business Administration.

“You’re not allowed to do that,” she said about holding up banners at the Incan ruins.

“We didn’t realize it,” her husband added.

The two stand in winter clothes with a Stetson banner in front of sign that says Vancouver 2010
The couple hold the Stetson banner at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Ernie Peterson, who retired in 2008 from the Volusia County Property Appraiser’s Office, describes himself as a sports enthusiast who loves to get close to the game. Over the years, he has amassed an incredible resume as a volunteer. He ran the game clock when Duke won the national championship in basketball in Jacksonville in 2010, and he did the same when the Gators won one of their national championships in basketball, too.

He was on the sidelines last year when Clemson played Alabama for the national football championship. He has worked at two Super Bowls (Jacksonville and Tampa), the Daytona 500, the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in 2006, and in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. He also will volunteer at the World Cup games in Russia in June 2018.

“We like to travel. We love to see different places,” he said, adding he sometimes stays with fellow Rotarians to keep down his expenses.

Added Jeanne, “I’m thankful Ernie is as excited about sharing Stetson as I am. We just have different methods. He wears the polos or carries the banners and never meets a stranger. I get to tell how wonderful Stetson is, once the conversation has started. We make a good team.”

-Cory Lancaster

Send Us Your Travel Photos: #HatterTravels

Hatters love to travel – around the globe and closer to home. Send us your travel photos with a Stetson Hatters logo for our #HatterTravels photo album. Be sure to send at least 300 dpi to [email protected] and include: #HatterTravels in the subject line, your name, the degree and year you graduated from Stetson, your phone number, when and where the photo was taken, and full names and other information about others in the photo.