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College of Arts and Sciences|Diamond Jubilee -- 75th Anniversary

Ted Olson

Bachelor of Arts - 1920 - English

Ted Olson spent his childhood on a Laramie River ranch with his Norwegian-born parents, brother, and sisters. As a journalist and diplomat, he traveled around the world, but his heart remained on the ranch. He captured those years in his acclaimed 1972 book, Ranch on the Laramie.

Olson was a true "big man on campus" -- editor and business manager of the weekly Wyoming Student, student body president, and SAE fraternity member. Shortly after he graduated, he instructed journalism in the English department.

He worked on the old Casper Herald, the New York Herald Tribune, and edited the Laramie Republican-Boomerang for nearly a decade. He wrote for newspapers in Denver and San Francisco. In 1928, the Yale Series of Younger Poets published his work. Olson's poems also appear in two other collections.

He left the Herald Tribune in WWII to become the U.S. State Department's London coordinator of information. As a respected diplomat, he headed the U.S. information service in Norway, and held important posts in the Middle and Far East, Latin America, Athens, and Reykjavik, where he was Counselor of Embassy.

Olson was a 1974 UW Distinguished Alumnus. He and his wife, Louise (a former UW faculty member), retired to Washington, D.C., where he died in 1981.

As UW celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, Olson wrote: "We can wish for the University no better destiny than it may preserve the same spirit of tolerance and intellectual freedom through the next fifty years.... It is the most profound obligation of any college and university. If Wyoming, half a century hence, remains a sanctuary of the inquiring mind, it will not matter how many buildings or how many students it can boast."

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Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus

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