Gary A. Olson is Inaugurated as Daemen's Sixth President
Gary A. Olson is Inaugurated as Daemen's Sixth President
September 20, 2013
Contact: Mike Andrei
Daemen College held the Inauguration of its sixth President, Gary A. Olson, Friday, September 20, at a formal ceremony on the Daemen campus.
Special guests included Representative Brian Higgins; UB President Dr. Satish Tripathi; Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; and members of the Daemen Board of Trustees, as well as other State and local elected officials.
In his remarks, Representative Higgins noted, “There is a sense of momentum and excitement in Buffalo and Western New York now. And there is a sense of momentum at Daemen College. I wish Dr. Olson and his new administration much continued success as we work together to keep the momentum moving forward across our region.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “A wide array of initiatives is coming together because people are working together. Business, government, health care, the arts, the hospitality industry, high-tech, and certainly, higher education are among the keys to advancing our economic future in a sustainable way.
“Dr. Olson, I look forward to continuing a very productive relationship with you and Daemen College.”
Following the completion of welcoming remarks, Board of Trustees Chair Dale R. Denyanick performed the Formal Investiture of Dr. Olson as Daemen’s President.
"The Inauguration of our sixth President, Gary A. Olson, marks the start of a new era in Daemen’s history," said Demyanick.
"From our earliest years as Rosary Hill College, to today’s cutting edge programs in the sciences and visual arts, we have maintained our focus: Excellence in teaching and learning, imparting the value of giving back to communities, and providing an education that is second to none."
President Olson, who began his term February 1, discussed his vision for the College in his Inaugural Address.
“Daemen College champions academic achievement, at a level not often found in other colleges across the nation,” he said.
“We have an unshakable commitment to communities. Contributing more than 30,000 hours of volunteer time annually, Daemen students, faculty, and staff understand the value of giving back. And with an economic impact of $114 million, Daemen is a major economic engine in the region.
“Looking forward, I envision a time when we compare ourselves not to Canisius, or Medaille, or Niagara, or D’Youville, but to Oberlin and Amherst, Loyola and Wake Forest. I envision a time when we imagine ourselves as not in the shadow of some sprawling public university, but as a high-quality college in our own right – nimble, right-sized and uniquely responsive to students’ needs.”
A reception in the Haberman Gacioch Center for Visual & Performing Arts immediately followed the ceremony.
The College also held an Inaugural Gala, 8 p.m., in Wick Center. Proceeds from the Gala will go toward Daemen scholarships.
About President Gary A. Olson
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. His early research at the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington focused on rhetoric and writing studies.
Since his arrival at Daemen, Olson has worked to raise the profile of the College locally and nationally.
Olson writes a popular monthly column on higher education administration for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Most recently, he has agreed to contribute a weekly column to the Huffington Post. The first of his columns on higher education issues appeared on Monday, August 26.
Olson, who has served as a Chronicle columnist for nearly seven years, will continue at that publication but will produce Huffington columns on a broad range of issues in contemporary higher education.
Additionally, he is co-editor, with John W. Presley, of The Future of Higher Education: Perspectives from America’s Academic Leaders (Paradigm, 2009).
He is also 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 (now simply JAC), a leading journal of theoretical scholarship.
Over a decade and a half, he conducted extensive, in-depth interviews probing the life's work of such internationally renowned intellectuals as anthropologist, linguist Noam Chomsky, deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, postmodern theorist Jean-François Lyotard, philosopher of science Sandra Harding, biologist Donna Haraway, and political philosopher Ernesto Laclau. 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.
From 2009-2011 he served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Idaho State University. A multi-campus, Carnegie Foundation “Research High” doctoral university, Idaho State serves as the state’s principal university promoting education in the health care professions and related sciences. Olson oversaw seven colleges, ISU’s libraries, and the Idaho Museum of Natural History.
Olson served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University from 2004 to 2009, where he led the college through a five-year strategic plan; created a college-wide technology support unit; established the college’s weekly newsletter; formed three high-level advisory boards; launched a number of faculty support initiatives; and created the institution’s largest faculty and staff recognition awards, raising nearly a quarter of a million dollars to endow them.
For nearly two decades (1985-2004), Olson served as an administrator and faculty member at the University of South Florida, one of the nation’s top 63 public research universities offering 219 degree programs (including the M.D.) to over 46,000 students on four campuses. 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.