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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Business VP leaves SMU for Purdue

President Turner lauds Olsen’s university efforts
 Business VP leaves SMU for Purdue
Business VP leaves SMU for Purdue

Business VP leaves SMU for Purdue

For the past five years, vice president for business and financeMorgan R. Olsen played a critical role in the ever-changinglandscape of SMU. Having served at SMU since 1999, Olsen recentlyaccepted the position of executive vice president and treasurer forPurdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

During his time on the Hilltop, Olsen was a key factor in suchimportant ventures as The Campaign for SMU, which helped raise $542million for the university, and the implementation of PeopleSoft,campus-wide software used to power Access.smu.

“There were always challenges, and the last five yearswere full,” Olsen said, “mostly full of greatmemories.”

Olsen said it took a lot of people making commitments to theuniversity to make things happen.

“The Campaign for SMU was a huge success, and it greatlyincreased the financial position of the university,” hesaid.

Olsen also oversaw the construction of many new facilities,including Gerald J. Ford Stadium, the Meadows Museum, the Laura LeeBlanton Student Services Building, the Dedman Life SciencesBuilding, Paul B. Lloyd All-Sports Center, the Jerry R. JunkinsEngineering Building, three parking garages, the SMU Bookstore andthe recent expansion and renovation of the Dedman Center forLifetime Sports.

While the construction of these buildings was largelysuccessful, Olsen was just as proud of the improvements and dailycare of the campus grounds.

“I was pleased with the initiative to improve the campuslandscaping. I think that it makes it a much nicer environment forstudents, faculty and staff alike,” he said.

President R. Gerald Turner remembers Olsen’s efforts asquite integral.

“When Dr. Olsen arrived, the campus was in a great deal ofturmoil concerning the frustrating aspects of implementing anenterprise computing system, PeopleSoft,” Turner said.

“It had been a very time consuming and costly project thatwas at a critical point. During the first two years of hisfive-year term with us, Dr. Olsen assumed control of the project,got the costs under control, and led the successfulimplementation… We needed his ability in this area to bring thisproject to a successful completion.”

The president also offered one of his greatest memories of Olsenduring the fall of 2001.

“My fondest memory is of Dr. Olsen and other staff membersstaying up most of the night before Gerald J. Ford Stadium wasopened in 2001,” Turner said. “He was helping to sweepthe concourse and carry out trash. These tasks were in his jobdescription under the statement of “‘other duties asassigned.'”

Olsen leaves the university with many memories explaining what awonderful time it has been for he and his family.

“We will miss Morgan but wish him well in his newposition. My hope is that he and his family will return to visit[the] campus and enjoy the many enhancements he has helped to guidefor SMU,” Turner said.

As far as Olsen’s replacement is concerned, Turnerexplained that the major focus for the new vice president ofbusiness and finance be to continue the construction projectscurrently underway and supervise the new engineering building thatis being planned. In addition, the new vice president will helpwith the planning for the next major gifts campaign which will gothrough the university’s centennial.

An announcement concerning how his responsibilities will behandled in the interim will be made within the next week.

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