Dr. Pete Settle centered his life around his family, and when he taught, his students became a part of that family.
“He was there for every kid. They weren’t nameless, faceless kids in a lecture. They were real people and he treated them as such,” said Jan, his wife of 49 years.
For years, Settle’s students knew of his wife, Jan, only as “the old woman,” and his two daughters, Kristin and Katie as Critter and Butkus, respectfully. The latter showed the love for his daughter but also the Chicago Bears, pulling the nickname from Dick Butkus, a former linebacker of his favorite team.
A professor emeritus of communication at Carroll, Settle passed away Oct. 3 following a brief illness.
He first came to Carroll in 1974, joining Dr. Joe Dailey and the late Dr. Joe Hemmer as a team of three in the communication department. There, Pete sharpened his expertise in in rhetoric, persuasion and interpersonal communication.
Dailey, now a professor emeritus of communication, said of Settle, “His way (of teaching) was particularly personal. He liked to emphasize the ways that ideas impacted real lives. The illustrations in his classes often came from the experiences of his family and friends.”
Dr. Barb King '87, an associate professor of communication at Carroll, remembers Settle as a “masterful teacher” who was skilled in attracting and retaining students. “Once you took a class with Pete, chances were you were going to sign up for another class,” she said.
The Rev. Rebecca Iverson ’99, now a hospice chaplain, visited with Settle as he lay ill during his final days, reading to him stories and messages from fellow Carroll alumni. She said, “He found great joy in his family and teaching and students. He was always ready with a smile and a hug if you needed it or a joke.”
At Carroll, Settle also served as faculty president, as advisor to the Communication Club, as “King of the Madrigal” with his wife Jan as queen for holiday Madrigal Dinners, sorority “mom” for Delta Zeta, and as academic advisor to the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team while they studied at Carroll and trained at the Pettit National Ice Center.
In his obituary, his family thanked students who visited, messaged or called in his final days to say, “You really made a difference in my life,” noting, “In the end, that was the legacy he wanted to leave.”