Faculty Spotlight: Peter McCornick

Peter McCornick
Meet Peter McCornick, executive director of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.
July 26, 2021

About Peter

I am from the Machars of Galloway in southwest Scotland. I earned my bachelor’s degree from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England, and my master’s and doctorate degrees from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where my wife and I met. Much of my career has focused on improving the sustainable management of water and agriculture, working with farmers, water managers and other stakeholders. This has included living in a number of different countries, including Canada, Indonesia, Eritrea, Jordan, India, Sri Lanka and a number of states in the U.S.

What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

I am the executive director of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute. I also have a faculty appointment in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, and a courtesy appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

The vision of the institute and the strong support from across the university and the state. The emphasis on securing water for food parallels well with what has motivated me throughout my career. The bold ambition of the institute to be globally relevant and the emphasis on achieving impact also resonate with me.

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?

The many opportunities to collaborate with enthusiastic colleagues, including students, across a wide range of disciplines and experience, especially those in the early stages of their careers.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

This is a tough question. There are many interesting and significant initiatives that I have had the good fortune of being part of. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing things continue long after my involvement, as well as drawing lessons from those that did not turn out as well as expected. I suppose the most significant achievement is that despite living a very nomadic life, our two children have grown up to be such good people.

What is something that most people don't know about you?

I suppose that would be my long-held interest in motorcycles.

What is your life like outside of work?

My wife and I like to walk, usually with our two English Cocker Spaniels, who keep us entertained. We also like to travel, going back to Scotland or overseas when viruses permit, as well as here in the U.S., including exploring the small towns and back roads of Nebraska.