About GEMS


Over the past twelve years, the GEMS team has visited and established relationships with over 200 international schools, colleges and universities in over 15 countries. Along the way they have earned reputations as seasoned experts in student loan programs and their workings, including rules and regulation compliance, audit preparation, student debt management counseling, loan consolidation and best practices. These relationships were built through individual on-campus visits, group seminars and attendance at a variety of industry and government backed conferences over the years. Individual GEMS team members also have broad experience in student recruitment and student service management. To learn more, read the team bios that follow!

Dwight R. Peterson, President and CEO
Dwight has been involved in the higher education industry for over 25 years. He began his tenure as senior vice president at the TERI Corporation in 1984. He left TERI to start the International Education Finance Corporation, focusing on providing more opportunities for students attending universities worldwide. After looking into new opportunities in the international education marketplace, he founded GEMS in January of 2010. In addition, he is the founding president of the International Education Council, a member-driven, notfor-
profit organization, that is charged with working for the rights and interests of international universities in Washington, D.C. He holds a BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Tony Glad, Executive Vice President
Tony has worked in higher education for more than twenty one years. He began his career at Knight College Resource Group, where he rose to the position of director of marketing for Health Education Loan Programs. He later took the position of assistant director of financial aid at Georgetown University School of Medicine and then became the associate director of MEDLOANS at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Starting in 2000, Tony served as the vice president of International Education Finance Corporation, and has spent the last decade assisting universities worldwide to create more opportunities in international education. A graduate of Duke University, he resides in Boston, MA.

Erich McElroy, UK and Europe
Erich, Director of ESM Enterprise Ltd, has worked in higher education for more than fifteen years.  Erich moved to the U.K. in 2000 to work at Richmond, the American International University in London as an admissions representative and recruited extensively in Asia and the Middle East.  In 2004, Erich left Richmond to represent the International Education Finance Corporation (IEFC) in Europe. Since 2009 Erich has worked independently with institutions of higher education to expand the number of U.S. students studying abroad.  Erich’s experience in working with a variety of institutions provides him with a unique understanding of the obstacles facing foreign institutions working to diversify internationally.

Tara Felton, Australasia and South Africa  
Tara is the Director of Financial Aid Australasia Pty Ltd and has worked within international education for 14 years. Her role prior to setting up her own company was Associate Director of International Student Support.  Tara was responsible for the international student welfare portfolio addressing holistically the needs of students from 80+ countries arriving at her university. As part of the Study Abroad and Exchange portfolio she also assisted both inbound and outbound students with preparation for what they could expect whilst they experienced the wider global community. Tara’s management portfolio included responsibilities for compliance, government contract management, welfare, critical incident management, financial aid and policy. From 2005 – 2008 she additionally represented IEFC in the southern hemisphere. Her company specializes in international compliance issues and support programs. She holds Master’s degrees in Justice and International Relations.




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