Donor Spotlight: Dave Olson

What inspired you to create a scholarship?

I was inspired to create the scholarship due to it being our 50-year reunion as well as an opportunity to support students from small towns, like all of us. Steve, Gary, John, and I try to get together on an annual basis (normally back in Madison!) and due to Covid and other factors, we were not able to get together in person this year, so it was a meaningful way to celebrate our 50 years of friendship and the good times at UW.

Tell us about the name and meaning of this scholarship to you?

Most of my favorite memories on campus were with Steve, John, and Gary, so I wanted to reflect and honor our time together and our friendship that we started in Madison. We met in Sellery Hall our freshman year and continued to live together and be friends throughout our time at Madison. None of us majored or studied the same things, but Madison truly brought us together and lifelong friendships.

Due to all of us coming from very small towns, we bonded over all the things occurring on campus. When it came time to decide on the scholarship criteria, I wanted to help students from rural areas, like where we came from, who may be the first in their family to attend college.

What was your time at UW like?

Fantastic! I had a wonderful education with supportive faculty and staff throughout my time at Madison. It was an eye-opening experience to see all the different areas of study and things to get involved with while attending school. Steve, Gary, John, and I really enjoyed going to football and basketball games together throughout our four years on campus.

What was your friends’ reaction to learning the scholarship was named after them?

It was a very meaningful way to celebrate our 50 years of friendship and time at UW-Madison together. They were all very happy and it was a great nod to our time together on campus and the memories we had.