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Nationally renowned financial leader to join ASU


August 04, 2008

Morgan R. Olsen, executive vice president and treasurer at Purdue University, has been named Arizona State University's new executive vice president and treasurer. He also will hold the appointment of professor of practice in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education.

Olsen, who has almost two decades of experience as the top fiscal officer at four universities and a doctorate in higher education, will replace Carol Campbell, ASU's executive vice president and chief financial officer, who is retiring from the university.

As executive vice president and treasurer, Olsen will oversee a $1.8 billion annual budget. His areas of responsibility will include treasury, accounting and financial functions, construction, capital planning, real estate, facility operations and maintenance, purchasing, auxiliary operations and human resources.

Olsen completes the upper management team of ASU, which also includes Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi, under President Michael M. Crow.

"Morgan Olsen possesses the wide range of financial expertise and experience and the management skills necessary to help continue ASU's ascent among the nation's leading public research universities," Crow said. "We are fortunate to have recruited someone of his quality who is not only respected for his solid business sense but also known for his initiative and creativity."

In his current position Olsen oversees finances and operations on Purdue's main campus in West Lafayette and three regional campuses comprising more than 70,000 students.

Among his accomplishments over four years at Purdue, he oversaw the completion of 28 major new capital projects, reflecting a $409 million investment adding 1.8 million gross square feet; directed a campus master planning process to ensure that each of the four Purdue system campuses has a long-range physical development plan that enables its strategic plan and institutional mission; and implemented a strategy to fund Purdue's substantial deferred maintenance backlog, resulting in over $139 million in funding to date. Olsen oversaw the successful $87 million OnePurdue project, implementing new enterprise computing systems for finance, human resources and student information.

As Treasurer, he also led the Purdue Endowment investment committee in diversifying the $1.8 billion Endowment's asset allocation to include a broad, global range of investments, improving returns while reducing volatility.

"I am very fortunate to be moving from one great university to another," Olsen said. "I have truly enjoyed my work at Purdue University. It has been a privilege and an honor to be a part of this great institution and to work with so many talented people. I am excited about the many opportunities at Arizona State University. ASU is a dynamic institution that is growing rapidly and becoming even better under President Michael Crow's visionary leadership, and I look forward to joining his team. On a personal level, my family and I are very excited about moving to a part of the country that we have always enjoyed visiting and where we have family."

Olsen serves on the board of directors of the United Educators Insurance Company, recently completed a seven-year term on the board of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and is the immediate past chair of NACUBO. He is a past president of the Central Association of College and University Business Officers and also holds memberships in EDUCAUSE and The Society for College and University Planning.

Prior to joining Purdue, Olsen served as vice president for business and finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, vice president for business affairs and treasurer and associate professor at Eastern Illinois University, and vice president and chief business officer at Emporia State University in Kansas.

A Bismarck, N.D., native, Olsen earned a bachelor's degree (summa cum laude) and master's degree in public administration from the University of North Dakota, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Kansas.

Said Crow of retiring executive vice president Carol Campbell, "ASU has been privileged to have exceptional leadership from Carol Campbell, and her accomplishments in just a few short years have helped ensure the university's future for decades to come. Her successor, Morgan Olsen, will continue her leadership in guiding the university through continued growth and expansion."

Campbell said that while she is "sad to be leaving ASU," she can rest assured knowing that the university has chosen the right person to manage its operations.

"Morgan Olsen is recognized as a national leader among his peers," Campbell said. "His experience at such an exceptional institution as Purdue University positions him perfectly to help ASU meet the challenges it currently faces, as well as those that that lie head in its bright and exciting future."

ASU has developed a new model for an American research university, one that focuses on access, quality and having impact on the larger community. Since 2002 ASU has advanced on many fronts, adding new faculty, attracting highly qualified students and growing in all its dimensions. In the last six years, ASU has:

• Grown enrollment by 10,000 students
• Increased undergraduate and graduate programs from 273 to 331, and total courses offered from 11,575 to 14,153
• Launched 16 new schools and 44 new centers and institutes
• Expanded the physical infrastructure by nearly 5.2 million gross square feet on its four campuses.