THIEL COLLEGE PRESIDENT TO DELIVER COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS ON MAY 3
April 20, 2009
GREENVILLE, PA – Dr. Robert C. Olson ’60, Thiel College’s 18th president, will serve as keynote speaker at Thiel College’s commencement at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 3.
Olson will also be awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities during the ceremony.
Olson, who is retiring in July, has spent more than 50 years as a part of the Thiel College community. He graduated summa cum laude from Thiel in 1960 and received a master’s and doctorate in history at Pennsylvania State University in 1962 and 1969 respectively. He returned to his alma mater in 1965 as an assistant professor of history and rose through the associate and professor ranks, teaching a variety of U.S. history courses with a special interest in the history of Native Americans. Olson was appointed vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college in 1999 after serving as interim vice president and dean since 1998. In 2005, he retired, but was recalled to assume the interim presidency of the College in March 2007.
In November 2008, the Thiel College Board of Trustees officially designated Olson as the 18th president of the College, retroactive to his interim appointment. Olson has served as president for more than 24 months. As president, Olson has created an environment that has allowed the College to more effectively carry out its mission, including fostering collegiality among the members of the college community and establishing a trusted system of shared governance on campus.
Throughout his professional tenure at Thiel, Olson has served on numerous committees including faculty council, and he proudly carried the Thiel College mace as faculty marshal for 21 years. He also served as adviser to various student organizations such as Alpha Chi, Thiel’s most prestigious academic honor society. In 1996, he earned the Thiel College President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Beyond campus, Olson served as president of the Reynolds School Board from 1981 to 1989, is a member of the Mercer County Historical Society Board of Directors and belongs to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Greenville. He holds membership in the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, American Association of University Professors and Phi Alpha Theta.
Olson, a resident of Mercer, and his late wife, Margaret—who was for many years the college’s bookstore manager and purchasing agent—are the parents of a son, Erik. He has two grandchildren.
About Thiel College
Founded in 1866, Thiel College is a liberal arts, sciences and professional studies institution located in Greenville, Pa., that provides a great balance of academic challenge, personal and social involvement, and exceptional value to its 1,100 students. For more information about Thiel College, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, visit www.thiel.edu or call 800-24-THIEL.