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Olson, Kenneth E. (Kenneth Eugene), 1895-1967

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1895 - 1967

Kenneth Eugene Olson was born on August 21, 1895 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, son of a Protestant minister. He was a veteran of World War I. In 1922, he married Mildred Nussbaum, with whom he had three sons and a daughter. Olson was appointed Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1937. Under his leadership, in 1938, the school was the first to offer a five-year program leading to a Master of Science in Journalism.

In 1916, Olson received his B.A. from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. He began teaching part-time at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin in 1922. Subsequently, he received another B.A. and his M.A. in Political Science from that school. Concurrently with his education and early teaching career, Olson held various positions on newspapers including the Ashland Press, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Milwaukee Journal, the Duluth Tribune; and he served as managing editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. Olson also established his own advertising agency in Madison from 1926 to 1930. From 1930 to 1935 he taught journalism at the University of Minnesota. In 1935, he was appointed the Director of Rutgers University Journalism School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he remained for two years.

Olson was appointed Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1937. Under his leadership, in 1938, the school was the first to offer a five-year program leading to a Master of Science in Journalism. The School thrived under his direction, growing in size and prestige. His influence extended beyond Northwestern University to national and international journalism communities.

Olson gained an international reputation through his travels for the government. In 1945, he traveled to England to assist in the establishment of college courses in journalism for GIs abroad. Later, he took leave from Northwestern for the winter quarter 1952-53 to travel to Greece under the auspices of the US State Department to assist journalists of that country. The State Department called on Olson again in 1959 to travel to several countries in the Far and Middle East to give seminars for journalists of those countries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Kenneth E. Olson (1895-1967) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 16/12
Abstract The Kenneth E. Olson Papers fill one box and span the years 1937 to 1967. The records provide an overview of Olson's career during his tenure as Dean and Dean Emeritus of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Materials include biographical files, clippings, articles, and Olson's faculty file.