Dr. Patterson began his higher education journey at Eastern Wyoming College in 1981. As a young Marine Corps veteran, police sergeant, husband, and father, he recognized the need for more education to advance in his career. In 1982 he completed his Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice—a member of the first generation of his family to graduate from college.
Education often leads to higher goals and so it did for him. Two years later he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice at Chadron State College. An internship, as part of that program, lead him from law enforcement to an interest in corrections. Master’s and Specialist’s degrees in counseling followed as did a job as a counselor at the Wyoming State Penitentiary. Later he returned to EWC as the first Director of Counseling and Placement, a position he held for four years before leaving to return to Laramie, the University of Wyoming, and further education.
In 1992 he completed a PhD in Counseling with cognates (minors) in public administration and adult education. From there he moved into community mental health and spent several years in Cheyenne as a therapist and associate program director. An opportunity for advancement led to Worland, Wyoming, where he served as the executive director of the mental health center for a decade.
He returned to Eastern Wyoming College as a Criminal Justice/Psychology instructor in 2004. Since then he has served as a division chair and completed a sabbatical with the Wyoming Department of Corrections, observing and assisting in the opening of the prison located east of Torrington.
Dr. Patterson is considered one of the leading experts in the state in specialized offender assessment, management, and treatment, and as such has been involved in both private practice and consulting with the Wyoming Department of Corrections in the management of this population. He has also taught mental health related courses at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy for several years.
In September 2014, he was appointed by the Board of Trustees of Eastern Wyoming College as the interim president. He was appointed as college president in January 2015.
A Wyoming native, Dr. Patterson is married to Candi Patterson, a registered nurse, who completed her pre-nursing courses at EWC. They have four grown children, three of whom attended EWC. They also have ten grandchildren.