His business card says, “Dr. Bob Pehrsson, Associate of the President.” Dr. Bob says he should have the title of “Dr. Dale’s helper.”
"I'm here to help in any way I can," he said of his role as the president's husband. "If we have an event at the house or a social event, I definitely participate."
Otherwise, "I deliberately am not getting involved," he said.
His attention is on the town.
"By my focusing on the community and economic development and Dale focusing on the university, we're trying to make a bridge. We want unity."
Dr. Bob easily could be active with the university. He was involved in higher education from 1975, when he became an associate professor at Long Island University, Greenvale, N.Y., until 2018, when he concluded six years as a visiting research professor for Central Michigan University. His academic expertise is in literacy, for which he was awarded professor emeritus status at Idaho State University.
His business experience goes back even further. In 1966, Dr. Bob, an expert in antiques, opened his own shops on Long Island. Through the years, he and Dr. Dale also owned a clinic for adults and children with special needs, a coffee shop and bookstore, and a restaurant.
"I did community development work in Idaho. We had businesses, so I know business," he said.
In Clarion, Dr. Bob is a member of Rotary Club, Clarion Blueprint Community and Clarion County Economic Development Corporation.
"I love Main Street. I'd like to see more traffic. The more traffic, the slower the cars go, and they might notice there are stores," he said. "My focus, in terms of economic development, is development on Main Street. We need attractions. We don't have enough."
One spot he thinks is ripe for development is the old jail behind the courthouse. He loves the picturesque courthouse, and he thinks the jail has the potential to be a beautiful restaurant or other attraction.
"We need for people to get off of I-80, beyond Walmart, and come to Main Street," he said.
Dr. Bob's schedule is increasingly full with his work in the community, but he continues to pursue his research interest in hermeneutics, the science of interpretation.
"My focus is interpretation and misinterpretation or spinning: How it is that we come to understand and misunderstand," he said.
In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, particularly nonfiction. He loves to write, and, in addition to his scholarly writing, he has penned two fictional novels, "Peanut Butter Fridays" and "On the Stoop," both available through Amazon.