Walter Petersen was a four-sport athlete at Hofstra from 1946 through 1950, lettering in football, baseball, men’s basketball, and track and field. As a senior, Walter received the Lou Buffalino Memorial Trophy as the outstanding senior athlete. In 1999 Walter was inducted into the All-America Football Hall of Fame.
Walter turned down a football scholarship to Notre Dame and tryout with the New York Giants football team and the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team (managed by Connie Mack) in order to serve his country during World War II. As a member of the United States Navy, he took part in the U.S. invasion of Okinawa in April 1945. Following the war, Walter enrolled at Hofstra where he was the recipient of the Memorial Scholarship.
An end on both sides of the ball in football, Walter ranked second on the team in receiving in 1948 with 12 catches for 160 yards. In two seasons as a center on the basketball team, Walter played in 15 games in 1947-48 and 16 games in 1948-49. He averaged 5.9 points per game in 1947-48 and 6.5 points in 1948-49. A separated shoulder, his seventh, forced him to give up basketball during his senior year, though he still competed in baseball and track and field. On the diamond he was a standout catcher and first baseman, while as a member of the track and field squad he excelled at the javelin, shot and discus.
Walter served as president of the Crown and Lance Fraternity at Hofstra and was also a member of the Accounting Club and the Inter-Fraternity Council. In 1950 he was named to “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.”
Following graduation, Walter worked for Grumman on Long Island and was the administrating engineer for the Apollo Lunar Module that was used for the moon landing in 1969 and on the Space Station. After leaving Grumman, Walter owned several travel agencies across Long Island.
A charter member and an organizer of the Fifty for Hofstra Club, which was the precursor to the Hofstra Pride Club, Walter was honored by the University with the George Estabrook Award for distinguished service to Hofstra in 1969. Walter gave back to Hofstra Athletics in many ways. For many years around Thanksgiving he organized trips to the Caribbean with all the net proceeds going back to the Athletic Department.