Daemen President Gary A. Olson to speak to Daemen College Class of 2013

Daemen President Gary A. Olson to speak to Daemen College Class of 2013


May 8, 2013



Contact: Mike Andrei

                Director-College Relations

                (716) 839-8472



Daemen President Gary A. Olson, the sixth president of the College, will speak to the Daemen Class of 2013. Commencement ceremonies will begin at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, May 18, in Kleinhans Music Hall, in Buffalo. The College expects to award over 800 undergraduate and graduate degrees.


From 2009-2011 Olson served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Idaho State University.


Olson obtained his Ph.D. in literary criticism and rhetoric from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1980. He also holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut, and a bachelor’s from Kings College.


Olson writes a popular monthly column on higher education administration for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and his most recent book is A Creature of Our Own Making: Reflections on Contemporary Academic Life, State University of New York Press, 2013.


He is the author or editor (often in collaboration) of 20 books and over 100 essays and articles and has written on a number of subjects central to rhetoric studies, including the role of theory in rhetorical scholarship, the connections between ideology and discourse, and the contributions of Stanley Fish.


Olson conducted a series of scholarly interviews with some of the world's most prominent intellectuals. He began the series in 1991 as editor of the Journal of Advanced Composition (JAC), a leading journal of theoretical scholarship. Over a decade and a half, he conducted in-depth interviews probing the life's work of such internationally renowned intellectuals as anthropologist and linguist Noam Chomsky; philosopher of science Sandra Harding; biologist Donna Haraway; and political philosopher Ernesto Laclau among others. These interviews were published in JAC and later in a series of books published by State University of New York Press, Southern Illinois University Press, and Paradigm Publishers.


            His recently published books include Education as Civic Engagement: Toward a More Democratic Society, Gary A. Olson and Lynn Worsham, eds, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012; The Future of Higher Education: Perspectives from America’s Academic Leaders, Gary A. Olson, and John Presley, eds, Paradigm Publishers, 2009; and Plugged In: Technology, Rhetoric, and Culture in a Posthuman Age, Gary A. Olson and Lynn Worsham, eds, Hampton Press, 2008).


Among the career recognition and academic honors Olson has received are the Distinguished Alumni Award, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, April, 2012; induction into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, also in April, 2012; a recognition award, NAACP Tri-State Conference, September, 2009, given in appreciation of commitment to excellence in education; and the International Award for Distinguished Editor, Council of Editors of Learned Journals, 1993.


Olson also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University, from 2004 to 2009.


Prior to this, Olson served as an administrator and faculty member at the University of South Florida (USF) for nearly two decades (1985-2004). Olson served as the chief academic officer at USF’s St. Petersburg campus from 2002 to 2004, helping to lead the campus to become a free-standing, self-governing, and separately accredited campus within the USF system.


            Also while at the University of South Florida, in 2003, Olson received the President’s Award for Faculty Excellence, a university-wide, competitive award for excellence in scholarship and teaching.


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