Dr. Keith Waldemar Olson has loved history since a formative age. Growing up in Hyde Park, New York, the home of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he developed a natural interest in historical affairs. Likewise, his Swedish background provided a unique perspective on his historical viewpoints, thus establishing his desire to become a history educator.
Joining the history faculty of the University of Maryland, College Park in 1966, Dr. Olson served as a professor of history for 42 years prior to earning the title of professor emeritus. Briefly serving as a history faculty member at Syracuse University in New York for three years, he has also dedicated his time to Tampere University in Finland, holding the position of Fulbright professor between 1986 and 1987 and in 2004. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2000. Likewise, he taught at the University of Oulu in 1993 and the University of Jyväskylä in 1994.
Attributing his success to his satisfaction and happiness with his profession, Dr. Olson finds the most rewarding aspect of his profession to be meeting unique, intriguing individuals during his time in academia, particularly international researchers. Furthermore, he values the relationships he developed with his students, having trained a number of graduate and doctoral students for many years.
Dr. Olson has maintained affiliation with myriad organizations throughout his career, including the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Swedish-American Historical Society and the Finnish Historical Society, where he has been an honorary member. A past president of the American Scandinavian Association, he has also been a member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
A prolific author as well, Dr. Olson is perhaps proudest of his book “The G.I. Bill, the Veterans and the Colleges,” named runner-up in a book competition. Published in 1974, the book was sponsored by the Organization of American Historians and recognized as one of the 100 Best Books in the Last Century on Higher Education. His books are available for purchase on https://www.historynewsnetwork.org.
Dr. Olson continues his interests in politics and international relations. In May 2020, he will present a research paper at the North American Studies Conference at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
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