What is the award?

The CAPT John W “Swede” Peterson Memorial Award, or Peterson Award, is an annual award established in honor of CAPT John W Peterson, USN.

To whom is the award presented?

This award is presented to future Navy and Marine Corps Officers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Naval ROTC Unit, “Badger Battalion”. One award is presented each academic year. More information about the recipients.

What are the criteria for the award?

The award is presented to a deserving future Navy or Marine Corps Officer who displays exemplary ethics and character, qualities that John held dear in those around him. An individual’s character was very important to John. He always believed that while academics, technical skill, or proficiency at various tasks are important, character above all else is a trait that should be recognized.

Who selects the award recipients?

The recipient is determined by the ROTC unit Commanding Officer and staff, at their discretion, based upon a review of deserving students against the award criteria. Recipients are selected from among current Naval ROTC students at UW-Madison.

When was the award established?

July 2010.

How often is the award presented?

Once per academic year.

Where is the award presented?

The award is presented at the ROTC unit’s Spring Ball, where students, family, and friends celebrate accomplishments of the battalion in the past year.

What does the recipient get?

The award is a $500 scholarship paid from the proceeds from a permanent endowment managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation.

This award will help the recipient defray expenses related to his or her education; even students on full Navy ROTC scholarships still have expenses not covered by the scholarship. The recipient will also be recognized at the Spring Ball, and have his or her name added on a plaque in the wardroom at the UW-Madison ROTC unit.

How large is the endowment?

As of April 29, 2023, the endowment is $14,431.10. The endowment is the result of family, friends, colleagues, and Shipmates contributing to this effort.

Who manages the award fund?

The CAPT John W “Swede” Peterson Memorial Award is managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation

How can I give?

Need help giving? Contact UW Foundation at 608-263-4545 or email

For more information about the CAPT John W “Swede” Peterson Memorial Award, email