Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Monterey Institute Community Mourns Loss of Dr. Peter Grothe

Peter Grothe

Dr. Peter Grothe

June 18, 2012

Dr. Peter Grothe, emeritus director of International Student Programs and longtime instructor, mentor and supporter passed away on Saturday, June 16, following a serious illness over the past five months.

Peter’s dedication to international students over the years was exceptional, as evidenced by the ongoing accolades Peter has received from former students. His cross-cultural lunches, Big Sur hikes, Institute ski trips where he gave lessons to beginner skiers, and his successful recruiting for MIIS in over 40 countries, are among the most visible of Peter’s contributions.

More importantly, he was there for Monterey Institute students, especially international students, when they needed a friendly conversation, help understanding American culture or a solid dinner. In recent years Peter also made an extraordinary financial commitment to enable 145 international students to pursue their education at the Institute.

Peter enjoyed a long and distinguished career in international policy and higher education. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in Communications, Political Science and History at Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science at George Washington University. He earned an honorary doctorate from the Monterey Institute in 2005. He served as foreign policy advisor to Senator Hubert Humphrey and as deputy director of the United Nations Division of the Peace Corps.

The family would like to pass along their warmest regards to the many alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends who sent Peter well wishes, cards and letters during his illness, and would like the senders to know how much they meant.

A memorial service will be held at the Monterey Institute in September, when faculty and students return to campus. More information is forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested a donation of any size to the Peter Grothe Scholarship Fund for Women in Developing Countries.  You can make a donation by filling out the Institute’s online giving form or contacting the Institutional Advancement Office at (831) 647 3523.


It was sad to learn of Peter Grothe's passing. He was truly an inspiration to me as a minority and non-traditional student at MIIS. He was my first contact with faculty and my last since graduating in 2000 in the MPA program.

Peter was truly a man of this world and was always willing and able to stop to talk with me even after so many years have passed. He was my mentor and friend. I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers go out to his soul and may he rest now for all the hard work he did to make and change our lives.

Peter, on behalf of my daughters, Samantha and Olivia, we mourn your passing but sincerely appreciate your help in enriching our lives for the better. Because of you, we are all on to bigger and higher things in life - giving back to the community as you so generously did.

You will be missed by the MIIS community! Your life impacted many for the better.

Rest in Peace, my friend,

Miriam R. Aguilar
MPA 2000

Dr. Grothe was an incredibly kind man with a heart of gold. Anyone who was in need of a kind word, support, or guidance, he was there. I am privileged to be able to say that Peter was my friend, and I regret that I did not say "thank you" to him before he passed.

Peter helped me much more than I ever helped him, though I enjoyed my time being a student employee for him. I laughed then (and still!) at some of the silly things he asked me to do! For example he was determined to find a way to stop junk mail from coming to his mailbox - and damned if I didn't make a hundred phone calls to those miscellaneous solicitors!

He always had a smile for me and asked how I was (and asked the question with sincerity). It is a small act I try to replicate.

He will be greatly missed, but not forgotten. He made a difference to me, and I know to so many others.

Rest in peace, Peter, Dr. Grothe.

Jennifer Green
MAIS '02

It was such a heartbreaking news to hear about Dr. Peter Grothe's sudden death. May his soul rest in peace. He was like a father to me and he was the only reason I could finish my education in the US. Words can't describe how sad I feel about his death.

I send thoughts of sympathy and condolence to his family, and MIIS community. I hope we can follow his footsteps in giving back to our community and the world in general. He was so humble that he didnt even take the credit for all the help (monetary and non monetary) and comfort he provided to others. He used to tell me that when he gives to people, he feels happy and that keeps him healthy because when we give to others, our bodies create a chemical compound that is good for health, so "I am actually helping myself by giving to others," he said.

May he be blessed by God, the almighty.

Nadia Hashimi
MAIPS 2007

Nadia -- We are all saddened by the loss of Dr. Grothe. He's been an inspiration, a supporter, and an advocate for so many! You were very special to him and his legacy will continue to bear fruit in the leadership and commitment of so many former students and now leaders like you! (You may recall that he always descibed you as a future leader of your country!)

Thank you for all you gave to Peter by doing so well as a student and being such a great example. All the best! -- Dennis

Dear Prof. Grothe, MIIS will never be the same without you. You have left a void which cannot be filled!

Shekaar Subramanian
MBA (Class of 2005)

I am most pained hearing the loss of Prof. Grothe. Without prof. Grothe's generosity towards me, I am not sure I would have been able to afford tuition at MIIS. To think that I just walked up to him and told him about my tuition condition and he agreed to award me that scholarship was an amazement to me.
Aside from awarding me the African national scholarship which helped covered my tuition, he made sure that all was well with me by occasionally checking in on my living condition.
He had this saying that stuck to me "...MIIS will have a candle burning just for you on the window in case you decide to return and visit as an Alumni" I pray that the angels have ensured that there is a candle burning awaiting your arrival at the gates and windows in heaven so you too can enjoy the generousity of your creator.
My only wish and prayer is that someday, I am able to make a difference in the lives of total strangers as he made in mine.
I sure will miss you Sir.
Esther Ikomi
MPA 2008

So so sad to learn about the passing on of my dear Professor, Father and brother in the Lord, Jesus Christ. I cannot really say how much I miss Doctor Grothe. He was so approachable, so humble, so willing to help. How can I describe his good and very kind heart...Thanks to him for the African National Scholarship. I only needed to share my need, and he came to the rescue; if not for Uncle P, (as I fondly called him) how could I have completed my studies at MIIS? Thanks to him, once again. He has done well, greatly well. He made many things in my life possible, empowering me to impact my community for the better too.

Not only about tuition, many times, he would ask how I am doing, with my son? so caring.
Even upon my return to Africa, he still took time to keep in contact, providing counsel, guidance through exchange of emails. I could never thank him enough...even upon his passing on, I look back and say Dr. Grothe was truly generous. Your generosity has made it possible for me to attempt things bigger and more noble then me...rest in Peace, Uncle P.

Upon learning about this transition, I have been looking at my album again...His kind smile He would always welcome us to his office with that smile. Smile on, Uncle P. Lay down thy head upon your Savior; we love thee well, but Jesus loves you best. Smile on, smile on.

Patience Ogele
MPA 2006

One of my first MIIS memories during new student student orientation in Fall of 1994 was of Professor Peter Grothe. I warmly recall his kind, gentle, and humble personality. Yet I also remember that he was one of the most brilliant and knowledgeable people I have ever met. He always had an "open office" to all, readily willing to offer not only his expertise, but also a kind word of encouragement when we all were dealing with the "crunch time" of finishing up research papers, projects, and exams. Whenever I remember the wonderful times I had as a graduate student at MIIS, I also remember Professor Grothe being such an intrical and inseparable part of MIIS and my education there. In a way, it was as if what MIIS was and what defined MIIS were never fully complete without him. You could not have one without the other. True, lide moves on, and we experience change and transition. Yet, our memories of Peter Grothe will never fade away. Yet, I also realize now that MIIS will indeed never be the same.

Godspeed and Clear Horizons, Friend

- Jevan Ellis
MAIPS Class of 1996

From the day, Peter was hospitalised, the day was never passed without his thought and
kindness in my heart. Our wonderful realtionship of American father and Bhutanese daughter dates back to 2005. He has been vsisting us all this 8 years to Bhutan to meet us (his three wonderful Bhutanese daughters) I feel like a dream, just this year january only, we met in Bhutan and had a nice time with him, having dinner together and sharing our life with him. He has been very kind to me for all those years and to hear his demise is very heavy news for us. Infact, he is the light of all our family. He have such a great soul that no one will be equal to him. We are very lucky to have him as our Dad.Maybe in the past generation, i did very good things so that god has blessed with me with such a great human, Peter Grothe as my Dad.

He has such a wonderful soul and he treat eveyone as his child and has a love for all. His book with the theme "every child is my child" encapsulate the whole peter's heart. Infact, Sonam, Sangay and myself, we are three wonderful daughters for Dad, we are very grateful and thankful to him.

i know we cannot see him and hear him but he can see us and hear us, i am definate that his soul is very happy with what we all are doing for him and remembering him as a wonderful soul.

I am praying that let his soul reborn in the land of God called God of limitless light (Sangay Yepamey) that is the highest place of rebirth we as a buddhist aspires to reborn after our death.Till i depart from this earth, i will be dedicating all my prayer to him and his kindness. All his goodness and kindness is engraved in all our heart, it will remain forver with me and go with me when i die.
I can never forget his two kind words i.e ‘’No Tobacco and No Wild Disco” I love you 10, 100, 1000, 10,000, 100,000, unlimited times, infinites times and unconditionally.

Nothing more to write as my heart is filled with love and tears at the moment.
anyways, billion times.... OM Mani Padme Hung! Om Mani Padme Hung!........for his soul.

My wife and I met Peter the Spring of 1996 at MIIS when he was volunteering for his annual AFS pre-departure orientation for area high school students and their parents. Our daughter was about to leave for her exchange year to Argentina and his "Green Banana" presentation reinforced the fact that the students' center of the world was about to change forever.

Our subsequent volunteer work with AFS was greatly influenced by Dr. Grothe and his many contribtutions to the AFS organization. We later learned that Peter was a volunteer with AFS for more than 30 years.

For the past 15 years I've had the privilege of helping Peter coordinate the annual pre-departure orientation. This last orientation we greatly missed the knowledge and large presence of this kind and generous man.

Peter, thanks for all you have done to make the world a better place.

Roy and Sharon Michaels,
AFS volunteers

I will also extend my sincerethanks to all for the AFS volunteers, it makes me smile that there are still loving people out there who are willing to help out others.

Dear ones, Peter has the largest family I have notice of.
Once he told me he was a collector and had a dispute with a Russian friend of who visited more countries. True, what a traveler he was, but I think his biggest collection was of people he cared about.
I met him in 1986, in the AFS bus trip, before going back to Brazil. He influenced my life since we met and became a very good friend.
He introduced me to so many people, that I had the pleasure to receive in Brazil. I consider these new friend a gift form him.
I am sure that everyone that had the life touched by him will, somehow, keep his work alive for generations to come.

Peter Grothe teve enorme influência em minha vida, e ainda mais na vida de tantas pessoas. Em 1986 foi o líder da AFS bus trip que finalizou o intercâmbio que fiz. Desde então estivemos sempre em contato. Peter era um colecionador,coleciona ciidades e amigos internacionais. Não casou, não teve filhos de sangue. Não conheço ninguém que tenha tido mais filho do que ele. Dezenas de pessoas, jovens e já mais velhas, o chamam de pai pelo mundo afora. Usou toda a sua herança no Instituto que fundou para financiar estudos no Monterey Institute para mais de 140 mulheres vindas de países aonde eram oprimidas. Hoje uma amiga, apresentada por ele, me deu a notícia de seu falecimento. Estou triste, como tantos, mas tenho a certeza que através daqueles a quem uniu ele continuará a ser lembrado. Sua obra também continuará através de nós. Descanse em paz, dear Peter.

Ciça Roxo
AFS bustrip 1986

Dr. Grothe was the angel sent to me straight out of heaven, when I neither expected it nor deserved it.

How truly deeply my heart hurts ... words just cannot express enough.

We love you, deeply, Peter - the twins and I mourn your loss and the void you have left will simply never be filled!

Until we meet again ...

Rest in Paradise, Peter.



He is that kind of man with open eyes for life.
Who had the great pleasure to meat his soul,
new how especial is to be looked by somebody that captures the best qualities in each humam beeing among him.
Dear friend, even whitout seeing you on these last years, be in GOODs peace!

My heart still hurts. Uncle Peter (as I and many of my friends called him) was a great man and my mentor. May his spirit for learning and excellence live on. RIP Peter Grothe.

It is with great sadness to hear the passing of a great Man. Peter came into my life when I was a young AFS student from Malaysia to USA in 1981, His presence at UCLA filled the whole gym. He made each one of us feel special when it mattered the most during the year being away from home;

Peter kept close contact with me in Malaysia thru letters (prior to emails technology), visits to Malaysia and few years ago in UK. He always takes a keen interest to what is happening in my life and had a fatherly advice on hand.

I only knew Peter but reading all the praises written about him, I have a glimpse of the rest of his surrogate children all around the globe,

Peter I am sure your wings looks great on you, Always on my mind.


The loss of Prof. Grothe was a complete shock to me especially I spent a whole semester (September 2011 - Feb 2012) at MIIS, almost meeting him on a weekly basis (either in a cultural gathering, meeting, lunch invitation, etc.) He was a great host not just to me but to all international students. The first time I meet him, you felt internal peace and warm connection with his attitude and kind heart. I am saddened but at the same time, I am happy that he left this world knowing that we all cared about him, respected him and will always remember him.

Dr. Peter Grothe is a WORLD CITIZEN who promoted peace and international collaboration and understandings...A man who believe that human beings are the same everywhere on earth...
I / We ... will always remember you.

I learnt a lot from him and I will always promote his tolerance and peaceful initiatives and will share it to my community.

RIP my dear professor.

I just came across this announcement while looking to add Peter to my Linked In account. This is sad news indeed. Peter's presence in my life began long before I attended the French Summer Intensive Language Program or enrolled as a BA/MPA student at MIIS. I was first introduced to MIIS and Peter at an AFS student exchange orientation on my way to the Czech Republic exactly two decades ago. Peter was an integral part of countless success stories that came from AFS and MIIS alike that were cultivated early on and lasted long after graduation. Anyone who knew Peter will attest to his passion for travel and genuine interest in students. He was a sincere global humanitarian who will be greatly missed. I feel strong that his legacy will continue at MIIS, but it is a sad time for anyone who cared for him or benefited from his kindness and experience. Peter was one of those rare individuals who set out to make a positive impact on the world. He pursued a profession that reflected his passion for people and improving the human condition. He had a warmly genuine smile for each person he met.

It was a very sad moment when I heard about Peter Grothe’s passing away. I still remember the very first moment when I saw him, a very humble, kind and caring person. He was my first mentor who opened the first windows of opportunity for me to pursue my academic interest. I am very grateful to him for giving me the chance to be one of the first Afghan female who studied the ESL program in MIIS in 2004.

It is a pity that I could not meet him after leaving MIIS. I believe he still remains with us in spirit.

May his soul rest in peace,


In  those days; Peter took us students to visit resurection city on the lawn in front of the white house. Jesse Jackson held a ceremony in one of the tents, we sang all together about love and peace, we shall overcomw..... I will never forget it! Thank you Peter

Add new comment