July 8, 2009
Northwestern Development Associate Tammy Walker conducted this interview with 2009 graduate Eric Peterman on June 3, just a couple of weeks before graduation. Eric was about to graduate with a degree in Industrial Engineering, a minor in Economics and a Leadership Certificate. He had also just signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears and was anxious to begin working out with them.
Q: Why did you decide to attend Northwestern?
A: ...because of the people here. I felt at home with the coaches, players and support staff. They seemed genuine, it seemed like they cared about you and I felt at home here.
Of course, the academics were important and also it is close to home for me.
Q: Tell me about your experience with football at Northwestern.
A: Football taught me a lot about life. I learned discipline, time management, dealing with authority, being a team player, working with others and all sorts of other things.
On the field, I learned to solve problems and react to situations and off the field I learned leadership skills through the leadership council and from being a team captain.
Q: What was your most memorable game?
A: The one that I'll always remember is the last one at Ryan Field when we beat Illinois. I am from Illinois and always had a little grudge against them. It was senior day, my last game at Ryan Field, we won the game and I scored a touchdown. The fans were great that day with a lot of school spirit. It was fun when they rushed the field. Everything just came together that day to make it a perfect last game.
Q: Your "team" won the Wildcat Games this year. What are the Wildcat Games?
Q: You are not only a great football player, but you are known for all of the wonderful things you do off the field. What have you done during your four years here in Evanston?
A: The football team is divided into teams, each led by a leadership council member who drafts their team members. Each team can earn points for football activities at practice, meetings and team events, for attending other NU sporting events, for community service and for high GPAs. A team can lose points for things like being late or breaking other team rules. The competition made it fun and brought the team together.
A: I was very involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was on the McCormick Advisory Board and gave many volunteer hours for various community outreach programs for the Northwestern Athletic Department.
Q: Congratulations for being named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. How was that experience?
A: It was an amazing experience. For the selection process, three aspects were considered -- football accomplishments, community involvement and classroom performance. I flew to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl game. Allstate really made it a big deal by filming commercials to tell each team members' story and they sponsored the half-time presentation. I met so many other amazing players with such great stories. It was also fun to meet many of the Allstate employees. It was great that something positive from college football was featured.
Q: With all of the demands of being a Division I athlete, how were you able to juggle your time?
A: It was tough at times, but I enjoyed the off-field activities and so I made time for them. For example, how can you not enjoy playing cards with older folks when you're all laughing and having a good time?
Q: You graduate soon from Northwestern with a degree in Industrial Engineering, a minor in Economics, and a Leadership Certificate. What's next?
A: I was picked as a free agent for the Bears, which is very exciting. I've been to a rookie mini camp with drills, meetings and 7-on-7 play. There were 3 days of practice, just helmets & no hitting, but it was still very intense. I'd love to play football as long as I can. After football I would like to have a career in the airline industry or in the financial sector.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: Faith is a big part of my life. I wouldn't be where I am without the Lord.