Q &A with Normandale Retiree Manley Olson

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Can you tell us about your experiences at Normandale and why you continue to stay so involved with the college?

I was a dean at Normandale for 30 years and had many different assignments during my time at the college. One area that reported to me was the Office for Students with Disabilities. When I retired, I decided that, rather than getting me a departure gift, I wanted people to give money to a fund that would help students in the Office for Students with Disabilities. I helped set up the fund, and talked to the Director of Student Disabilities to have the money available to students in that area who have difficult situations and need financial help.

A year ago, I dManley Olson - Retiree Luncheonecided in addition to that program we would set up a scholarship program for qualified students in the disability program. This year was the first time the scholarships were awarded to two students. The scholarships are named the Olson-Dunne scholarships for my children, Mark Olson and Judy Olson-Dunne, who are both Normandale graduates.

What does it mean to you to continue to stay involved at Normandale?

I have never cut ties to Normandale. From the moment I retired, I have always come back for activities such as helping give directions to students on the first day of school. I have always enjoyed taking an active role in helping recruit retirees to volunteer on the first days of school and to help coordinate the Retiree Luncheon. This keep retirees in touch, and provides a chance to spend time with each other. I also continue to use Normandale's Library.

What makes Normandale special?

Normandale has always been an institution that has lived up to the idea of an open-door college. Over the years, I got to know a lot of students and heard many great stories about why they were attending the college. There were many students who were always looking to accomplish something and trying to improve their lives. I liked that we could help a lot of them, because we accepted everyone and provided a quality education.

I think community colleges do a great job of educating and providing opportunities for people. I really think Normandale does a great job living up to those ideals. In my opinion Normandale is special and stands out among community colleges. It has a great group of faculty and staff. And it is an institution that cares about everybody who comes through the doors."