Former Utah State University president George H. Emert passed away Wednesday night in Washington state. He was the 13th president of the university and served in that capacity from July 1st, 1992 to December 31st, 2000. Former Logan mayor Craig Petersen worked with Emert and on KVNU’s For the People program on Thursday shared some insight about him.
“I worked with George for the whole time he was there,” said Petersen. “In fact I was right in the middle of the transition from the quarter to the semester system. I was in the provost office and that was my responsibility and George actually gave me the honor of being acting provost at Utah State for a short period of time.
“He was a controversial president (but) I liked him. One part that a lot of people didn’t see about him – he had a wonderful wife that he was absolutely devoted to and he was wonderful with his kids and his grandkids.”
Petersen said he and Emert not only worked closely together, but occasionally also played tennis together.
“I used to have a tennis group. I stopped doing it when I became mayor, it just became too much. It was every Tuesday night. Occasionally, we wouldn’t have a fourth (player) and so I’d call up President Emert and ask him if he wanted to play tennis.
“He actually played college-level tennis (and) he was a very, very good athlete. So he was anxious to come and one night we were down at the Sports Academy, and he was up near the net and I was kind of back towards the end.
“I hit a shot and I hit him right in the back of the head and he kind of shook that off and we went on and played. But then just a few minutes later somebody hit a lob and he went to hit an overhead (shot) and he missed it and fell right back on his head. We actually had to call the ambulance and he missed a couple weeks of work and was in the hospital for a short period of time.”
Petersen said Emert was very competitive but was always a good sport. George Emert was 79.