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Endowment Renamed in Gladys Olson's Honor

Gladys B. Olson International Student Endowment funds nine scholarships annually.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 9-30-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Elizabeth & Wynn Kearney International Center celebrated the renaming of its International Student Endowment in honor of its founder, Gladys B. Olson (pictured), during a social, dinner and program in Olson’s honor Saturday at Centennial Student Union.

The “Gladys B. Olson International Student Endowment” is financed by a fund that now includes more than $700,000 and provides nine scholarships of between $2,300 and $2,500 each year. The goal is to increase the fund to $1 million in three years, so that more scholarships can be available.

Olson, now 97 years old, told Minnesota State Mankato’s TODAY magazine that she takes pride in each of the students she’s met through the student endowment fund.

“I guess what I’m most proud of about the endowment is that it actually happened, since it had such a feeble, pathetic beginning,” Olson said. “And then I guess I’m proud that I could interest other people in joining me with it.”

The full TODAY story is available here.

The scholarships are awarded annually to deserving international students – to include undergraduate, graduate or transfer students – who are enrolled as full-time students and have a cumulative Minnesota State Mankato grade point average of 3.20 or better. (See list of criteria here.)

Olson, a former professor in Minnesota State Mankato’s Mass Communications department, started the fund with a personal contribution of $1,000 in 1988 after initially unsuccessfully petitioning the University Foundation board for a seed fund of $10,000.

Since its inception in 1988 and through 2012-2013, the Endowment had awarded 197 scholarships to students from 46 countries. Students from Nepal have been awarded 40 scholarships, while students from China have claimed 19, students from Pakistan 16 and students from Japan and India 10 each. A total of $225,140 has been disbursed and has had a significant impact on past scholars.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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