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Scholarship honors Paul and Jeanne Olsen

February  11, 2013

Pam and Bob Wilson ’72 decided to thank and honor an Augustana couple who have, through many years of teaching, coaching, mentoring and true friendship, changed the Wilsons’ lives for the better.

The Wilsons, of Kentwood, Mich., gifted the Paul V. and Jeanne Donstad Olsen Scholarship to celebrate “the many ways Professor and Coach Paul V. Olsen and Jeanne Donstad Olsen ’68 have inspired generations of students at Augustana College to go the distance in life.”

In addition to serving as a professor in English literature and writing, Dr. Paul Olsen has been the Vikings’ head men’s cross country coach since 1966 and head men’s track and field coach since 1969. Olsen has been selected 12 times by seniors to deliver their “last lecture” during senior honors week at the end of the school year. Jeanne Olsen has provided equal inspiration and unwavering support of the Augustana experience.

Bob Wilson recalled, “Paul taught my freshman English class, and my friendship with and admiration for him developed from there through the four years he was my cross country and track coach and into the many years beyond.”

Lynn Jackson, vice president of advancement, said, “In recognition of that combination of classroom, team experience and all-encompassing enthusiasm, the new scholarship provides scholarships for students who have demonstrated exceptional passion in academics and extraordinary leadership in co-curricular activities at Augustana.”

“Although I did not recognize it during my youth, I can now easily see how I learned so many valuable life lessons from Paul,” said Wilson. “He has a special joy in living. He loves to laugh and joke around, and he helps students develop accountability and responsibility. Paul is a man of hope and passion, encouraging others to do the best at whatever they choose to accomplish."

Sam Schlouch
Director, Public Relations and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7833
samschlouch@augustana.edu