Hollister Knowlton Petraeus (born 1953) is the daughter of General William A. Knowlton, a four-star general and NATO commander. She was born in Paris, France. Her great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War and the Indian Wars. Her great-grandfather was a brigadier general in the Spanish-American War. Her grandfather served in both world wars, earning a Silver Star in the first and rising to lieutenant colonel in the second. So, she was born into a military family. In 1973, she met her husband David Petraeus when she was a senior at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and he was a West Point cadet. They were married after graduation. In 38 years, Petraeus moved her household and family 24 times.
In 2011, she was appointed as assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, a government office dedicated to protecting service members and their families from financial predators and pitfalls.
She has accused for-profit colleges of preying on vulnerable military personnel. Petraeus wrote:
"This gives for-profit colleges an incentive to see service members as nothing more than dollar signs in uniform, and to use aggressive marketing to draw them in and take out private loans ... One of the most egregious reports of questionable marketing involved a college recruiter who visited a Marine barracks at Camp Lejeune, N.C. As the PBS program Frontline reported, the recruiter signed up Marines with serious brain injuries. The fact that some of them couldn’t remember what courses they were taking was immaterial, as long as they signed on the dotted line."