Peter Utgaard was born and raised in Carbondale Illinois where he earned a B.A. in German in 1989 at Southern Illinois University (SIU). The highlight of the B.A. degree was the junior year in Baden bei Wien, Austria, prompting Utgaard to return to Austria for the 1989-1990 academic year as an English teacher (sponsored by the Austrian-American Education Commission) at two high schools in Lower Austria (Wiener Neustadt and Katzelsdorf an der Leitha). After witnessing the fall of Iron Curtain first-hand, Utgaard returned to the United States where he completed a M.A. in European and American History at SIU. Utgaard then moved to Washington State University in the Pacific Northwest where he pursued a doctorate in History with areas of study in European, East Asian, and Latin American History with a research specialty in twentieth century German and Austrian history. During the 1995-1996 academic year, Utgaard returned to Austria as a Fulbright scholar to research Austrian official memory of the Second World War at the Austrian Education Ministry in Vienna. Utgaard completed his doctorate in August of 1997 and taught several history courses at Washington State University before joining the faculty of Cuyamaca College in the fall of 1999. Dr. Utgaard's book, Remembering and Forgetting Nazism: Education, National Identity, and the Victim Myth in Postwar Austria, was published in 2003 by Berghahn Books of New York and Oxford. In 2003, Dr. Utgaard was awarded the Cuyamaca College Excellence in Teaching Award. In Spring 2009, Utgaard taught in the San Diego - Imperial County Community College Association (SDICCCA) Study Aboard program in Florence, Italy.
Dr. Utgaard also teaches Humanities and is the author of two readers: Memory and Material Culture in Early World History and Historical Memory and Cultural Icons in Modern World History. Dr. Utgaard is currently serving as the chair of History, Social, and Behavioral Sciences. He also served as chair from 2000-2005 and as acting dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences from July-December 2016.