guy – which means that I didn’t get to have any fun!
At Ball State a colleague and I received funding from
the Lilly Foundation to look at the issues around convert-
ing from analog to digital media. One thing we did was
a documentary about how the digital environment can
transform learning. We looked at schools, in Mexico,
Germany, Japan, that were using technology and at how
kids there learned. The film aired on PBS and won five or
Did the color purple influence your decision
to pursue the presidency here?
Now joined in interview by wife Kelley Olson]
It’s absolutely our favorite color. It’s in our blood. Of
the five places we’ve been, three have been purple.
Kelley Olson]: What color could be greater than
purple? It’s a dignified color. It’s a royal color. It’s an
academic color. My doctoral robe is purple. We’re
thoroughly committed to purple.
There’s a rumor that you plan to live in an
apartment on West Campus at first.
We thought it would be a good way to get a crash
course in Winona State culture. To get to know the
students, campus, to get to know the community much
more quickly than if we had bought a home already.
My first priority is to understand what it is about Winona
that has made it great for 150 years. This seems like a
good way to get at that.
When we told our two daughters, who are both
college age, they said, “Dad, you’re out of your mind.
Those students don’t want you there.”
What do you enjoy outside of campus?
Kelley Olson]: Right now I work as development direc-
tor for the YWCA in Manakato and have always had a
mission-driven career in development. I’ve also done
some marketing and public relations.
Both Scott and I love music and theater. We’re really
looking forward to the Great River Shakespeare Festival
performances when we get to Winona.
Scott Olson]: I’m a voracious user of the media. It
fascinates me and it’s my scholarly area, so I read and
watch a lot when I’m not working. You probably won’t
see me out in the garden that much, but you might see
me at the Winona movie theater with Kelley.
We have a family cabin up north and like to
spend time there relaxing and reading. And of course,
I love skiing.
Kelley Olson]: I go with him but would much rather
look down from the top of the mountain than ski down.
Very much a team, the Olson family
Scott and Kelley
along with daughters Katie and Lucie – plans to be “very visible on campus and in the community.”
Here’s a brief overview of Winona State’s first family.
Scott, a Minnesota native who earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees at Northwestern
University, enjoys skiing, scuba diving, sailing, and music
Kelley grew up in Michigan and earned her bachelor’s at Northwestern.
She has worked as a development and marketing professional for St.
Joseph College, the Connecticut Easter Seal Society, and the Mankato
YWCA. She enjoys tennis, watching sports and movies, and theater.
Katie is a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is a
budding writer who has written a novel and scripts for television
shows. She enjoys tennis, skiing, and art.
Lucie is beginning her freshman year at the University of San Diego.
Her parents say she is inclined towards math and science and is
interested in service work. A gymnast, she also plays tennis and skis.
The Olson family:
Lucie, Scott, Kelley, and Katie.