Peace Corps Deputy Director Receives University of Utah Alumni Award

March 2, 2007

Jody K. Olsen, Utah Native, Receives Universitys Highest Honor

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 2, 2007 - Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody K. Olsen has been chosen to receive a 2007 Founders Day Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah, the highest honor given by the University of Utah Alumni Association. Olsen will be presented the award at a Founders Day dinner on March 6, 2007 at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Olsen, who received a B.S. in Sociology in 1965 from the University of Utah, as well as a Masters in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland then went on to have a distinguished career within the Peace Corps.

I cherish my Utah heritage, says Olsen, whose great-grandfather, Janne M. Sjodahl, arrived in Utah as a pioneer from Sweden in the 1860s. Olsens grandfather, William H. King, was a Utah Supreme Court Judge, a Congressman from Utah, and then a U.S. Senator for 24 years. Olsens father, David S. King, represented Utah as a Congressman for three terms. Says Olsen, Their stories, experiences and respect for the Utah heritage has influenced me throughout my life.

Olsen launched her own distinguished career with the Peace Corps in 1966, when she became a Peace Corps Volunteer and spent two years in Tunisia. She later served as a Country Director in Togo; as Regional Director for North Africa, Near East, Asia, and Pacific; and as Chief of Staff before becoming Peace Corps Deputy Director. Olsens other professional roles have included five years as executive director with the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the organization responsible for managing the Fulbright Senior Scholar Program.

Says Olsen on the University of Utah, I came to the University of Utah shy. The four years brought me self-confidence through caring and attentive faculty. My time as a student at the University changed my life; it opened my mind and gave me an opportunity to meet lifelong friends.

Olsen will spend March 1-8 in Utah, where she will speak about the Peace Corps at five universities including Brigham Young University, Weber State University, University of Utah, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University. She will also be meeting with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Salt Lake City as well as participating in a talk on global health issues at the University of Utah during her visit.

Since 1961, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
(Press Corps Regional Office Press Contact: Joe Zucchini at 303-901-2140)

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