Professor Thomas Olson Scholarship Endowment created for engineering students

Thomas Olson (left), a former professor of engineering at Marshall University receives a framed copy of the agreement for the scholarship endowment bearing his name from Lance West, vice president for development at the Marshall University Foundation Inc.

July 31, 2017

Two Marshall University alumni, Gary Ray and Robert Lang, have established the Professor Thomas Olson Scholarship Endowment with the Marshall University Foundation Inc. The endowment will assist both the recruitment and retention efforts of the engineering department by benefiting both incoming freshman and/or full-time undergraduate students majoring in engineering.

Both former students of Olson, Ray and Lang said they created the endowment as a tribute to what they learned in his classroom.

“There are many graduates from that earlier program that went on to satisfying careers in various industries,” Lang said. “Professor Olson taught us more than the technical aspects of engineering. He and the others provided us with an understanding and, therefore, a preparedness for, working in the real world.”

Ray said he hopes the scholarship will assist with recruitment and retention efforts in the College of Information Technology and Engineering.

“I recognize the importance of scholarships to assist the recruiting and retention of students at Marshall University,” Ray said. “You see, I was a Marshall scholarship recipient. Without that, I probably would not have been able to further my education and be in a position today to give back to the university in the form of an endowment scholarship. This endowment in his name is a small way of saying thanks to the Marshall University engineering program and especially Professor Thomas Olson.”

Lang noted it is easy for students to get discouraged from finishing a rigorous program, especially when financial challenges arise.

“Engineering, like many complex fields, is very demanding, requiring a significant amount of work and dedication. It’s easy to get discouraged and maybe consider an easier path,” Lang said. “My advice is to never give up, either from a technical difficulty standpoint or a financial standpoint. The hard work will be rewarded.”

For questions regarding student’s eligibility for this fund, please contact the dean’s office of the College of Information Technology and Engineering. For questions about starting a scholarship at Marshall University, please contact Krystle Davis at the Marshall University Foundation at

If you would like to contribute to the Professor Thomas Olson Scholarship Endowment for Engineering, please contact the Marshall University Foundation at 304-696-3512.