Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values

This Chair is named in honor of Dr. Stanley L. Olsen, a wise and beloved faculty member (1937-71) in the areas of philosophy and religion.

About Stanley Leonard Olsen:

Born Nov. 15, 1904 in Rowlands, Pa., the son of Elizabeth Ostherhus and Jorgen Olsen, Dr. Olsen grew up in New York.

  • 1910         Public School 136, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1922         Graduated from Manual Training High School, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1923-27   B.A. 1927, City College, NY; Major: Philosophy, Minor: English
  • 1928-29   Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ
  • 1929-30   Biblical Seminary, NY
  • 1930-32    C.T. 1932, Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • 1929-33    M.A. 1933, Education, New York University (dissertation on philosophy of John Dewey)
  • 1942-43    New York University, Education
  • 1950         Ph.D., School of Education, New York University (dissertation on philosophy of William Clayton Bower)
  • 1955         Danforth Seminar, Denison University
  • 1968         Summer, University of Minnesota, Philosophy
  • 1927-28   Director of Youth Work, Trinity Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1932-33   Director of Youth Work, Zion Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1933-36   Faculty member, Waldorf Junior College, Forest City, IA: Christianity, Speech, English
  • 1936-37   Pastor, First English Lutheran Church, Waco, TX
  • 1942-43   Associate Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1937-71   Professor, Augustana College, Philosophy and Religion
  • 1958-59   On leave, teaching at Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • 1971         Professor Emeritus, Augustana College
  • Married Grace Sorbye, 25 Aug 1934, Brooklyn, NY
  • Children: Marilyn (1936), G. Curtis (1937)
  • Stanley L. Olsen died 10 March 1979, Sioux Falls, SD, at age 74.
  • Interment at Hills of Rest Memorial Park, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Grace A. Olsen died 13 August 2003, Sioux Falls, SD, at age 94.
  • Interment at Hills of Rest Memorial Park, Sioux Falls, SD
     

Roles at Augustana:

  • Chairman of the Humanities Division, 1948-52, 1960-65
  • Chairman of the Detartment of Christianity and Philosophy, 1950-56
  • Chairman of the Department of Philosophy, 1956-70

 

History of Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values:

In 1982 Augustana College submitted a proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a matching grant. This successful NEH challenge grant provided support for two endowed chairs, endowment support for the Library, and support for the Center for Western Studies.

The two NEH endowed chairs were initially designated as the NEH Chair of Religion and Values, and the NEH Chair of Regional Heritage. Prof. Arthur R. Huseboe served as the first NEH Chair of Regional Heritage. Dr. Huseboe also served as Professor of English, and as Executive Director of the Center for Western Studies.

Prof. Arthur L. Olsen was named as the first holder of the NEH Chair of Religion and Values, 1985-90, by Augustana President William C. Nelsen. At the same time, Dr. Olsen assumed the post of chief coordinator/implementer of Augustana's general education curriculum, as the new curriculum moved toward implementation.

Dr. Olsen served on the Augustana faculty 1956-57, 1960-96.

  • 1951   B.A., St. Olaf
  • 1956   B.Th., Luther theological Seminary
  • 1966   Th.D., Harvard University

As NEH Chair, Dr. Olsen was particularly active in developing and teaching a number of courses related to questions of value. A particularly distinctive example is Biomedical Ethics, taught with Jerry Freeman, M.D. Dr. Olsen was also tireless in his work as Director of Capstone, encouraging and supporting the development of Capstone courses as part of General Education.
 

Arthur L. Olsen, "How Then Shall We Live: A Household Perspective on Moral Issues," Nov 8, 1990 Convocation address, on the occasion of the official naming of the Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values.

In a Convocation on Nov. 8, 1990, this chair was officially named as the Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values.

Augustana decided to name the Chair for a wise and beloved Augustana Professor, Stanley L. Olsen, who in his work as a teacher and a faculty member, embodied what this Chair is all about.