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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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College of Business MBA Scholarship Endowment to Honor Alum David C. Olson

The late David C. Olson was president of Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and chaired Minnesota State system's board of trustees.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 12-1-2016

Mankato, Minn. –Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Business, in partnership with the late David C. Olson’s family, friends, business associates and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, is creating an endowed annual scholarship to honor Olson (pictured at right), former president of the chamber and former chair of the Minnesota State system’s board of trustees.

More than $178,000 has been raised toward the $250,000 goal for the endowed scholarship, which each year will provide a student enrolled in Minnesota State Mankato’s Master of Business Administration program a $7,500 annual scholarship and internship opportunity at a Minnesota chamber of commerce.

Richard Davenport, president of Minnesota State Mankato, said Olson exemplified “big ideas and real-world thinking” throughout his distinguished career.

“We thank David’s family and colleagues for their commitment to this important endeavor,” said Davenport. “David worked for decades to create business opportunities throughout Minnesota communities and to create higher education opportunities for Minnesota students. This scholarship will help students carry on David’s work.”

Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of Minnesota State, and Bill Blazar, senior vice president of public affairs and business development with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, both described the scholarship as a fitting tribute to Olson’s career.

“We are proud to join in the creation of the David C. Olson scholarship that both honors David’s legacy and provides the support and internship experience that is critical to growing the next generation of Minnesota business and public affairs policy leaders,” said Rosenstone.

Said Blazar: “Hardly a day goes by that we don’t think or say, we need more business leaders active in Minnesota public affairs. The Olson scholarship will be one real step toward solving this problem…supplying these leaders.”

Brenda Flannery, dean of Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Business, said the scholarship will provide recipients the opportunity to build on Olson’s contributions to the Minnesota business community.

“We are grateful to all who had the vision to establish this legacy scholarship,” said Flannery. “David’s impact was widespread, as witnessed through the tremendous generosity and support that continues to come in his name. This has opened up another real-world experience opportunity for students and business to connect and benefit from one another; we are truly thankful.”

Minnesota State Mankato MBA student Ellie James (pictured at left) has been selected as the scholarship’s first recipient, and her scholarship award will provide her an internship with the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism – the first partner chamber selected for the award.

James, who is from Elysian, Minn., earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Minnesota State Mankato in 2011 and plans to earn her MBA degree from Minnesota State Mankato in May 2018.

During her internship, James will assist the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism in developing strategies and programming to address workforce needs in the region.

David C. Olson, who earned a master’s degree at Minnesota State Mankato, served for more than 23 years as president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and for six years on Minnesota State’s board of trustees, serving as board chair from 2007-10.

David C. Olson Scholarship contributions can be made online. For more information, contact Nick Linde, director of development for Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Business, by phone at 507-389-2578 or by email at For information about Minnesota State Mankato’s MBA program, contact Marilyn Fox, professor and MBA director, at 507-389-2966 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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