News about Professor of History Maya Peterson

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Cynthia K. Larive, Chancellor; Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

We write today with heartbreaking news. Maya K. Peterson, associate professor of history known by so many in our campus community, died in childbirth on June 16. Her daughter with partner A. Marm Kilpatrick, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, also passed away. Her name was Priya Luna.

This is a profound loss, and our thoughts and condolences are with Marm, Maya’s family, and with her friends and colleagues. Maya was an internationally known scholar and an immensely talented historian and teacher, and more than that, she was a vibrant presence in our community – deeply involved in a host of campus initiatives, passionate and funny, inspiring and kind. Her sudden and unthinkable loss after nearly a decade in our midst leaves an emptiness that is hard to process.

We encourage anyone struggling with this news to reach out to campus grief and crisis counselors. Students in need of support should contact Counseling and Psychological Services. Faculty and staff may wish to contact the Employee Assistance Program.

A memorial service for the campus community is still being planned, and will likely occur this fall. The event details will be shared widely once finalized. The Humanities Division has established the Maya K. Peterson Memorial Fund to honor Maya’s memory and legacy. The specific use of the fund is still being decided by family members. Contributions can be made to the fund at the university’s Online Giving Site. The Humanities Division will share more details about the fund when those details are available.

We would also like to share a memorial statement about Maya that was written by those who knew her best. It was sent out earlier today to her colleagues in the Humanities Division, and it captures what made Maya so special and unforgettable.

We offer our deepest sympathies to those who knew her.

Cindy and Lori