Inauguration of Gary A. Olson will take place September 20

Inauguration of Gary A. Olson will take place September 20 in Wick Center


September 2, 2013



Contact:   Mike Andrei

                Director-College Relations

                (716) 839-8472



           Daemen College will inaugurate Gary A. Olson, Ph.D., as its sixth President Friday, September 20, at a formal ceremony on the Daemen campus. Olson began his term February 1.


           Special guests will include Representative Brian Higgins; UB President Dr. Satish Tripathi; Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Howard A. Zemsky; and members of the Daemen Board of Trustees, as well as other State and local elected officials.  


           Board of Trustees Chair Dale Demyanick will perform the Formal Investiture of Dr. Olson as Daemen’s sixth President. Following this, President Olson will discuss his vision for the College in his Inaugural Address. 


           “The Board is delighted that Dr. Olson is already leading Daemen to new levels of excellence,” said Demyanick.


           “He is an accomplished scholar and administrator, and a highly published author. His  understanding of Daemen’s many unique strengths and his vision of Daemen’s potential for national prominence will help lead the College to a bright future."


           Inauguration ceremonies will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Charles J. Wick Campus Center. A reception in the Haberman Gacioch Center for Visual & Performing Arts will immediately follow the ceremony.


           The College will also hold 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.

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