Olsson Associates reinforces engineering education at Nebraska

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Brad Strittmatter created new funds and increased endowments established years ago.

With a history of reinforcing education at the University of Nebraska, Olsson Associates has announced a gift commitment of $260,000 over the next 10 years to support faculty members, students, academic programs and facilities at the College of Engineering.

The Nebraska-based engineering and design firm with 24 offices in seven states has established two new support funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation while also increasing its permanent endowments for student scholarships and its faculty teaching excellence awards. The gifts support the university’s current Campaign for Nebraska fundraising initiative.

“We’ve had a long-term partnership with the University of Nebraska and its campuses,” said Olsson President Brad Strittmatter. “Our support of the university will help the programs, students and faculty, which is a great benefit for everyone in our communities.”

The gifts from Olsson Associates create two new funds, including $90,000 to support a range of student activities and organizations in the College of Engineering in Lincoln and Omaha as well as $50,000 for renovations and upgrades to a computer laboratory.

The company is also increasing endowments it established some years ago to benefit the college. A gift commitment of $100,000 increases a scholarship fund created in 2001to honor Olsson Associates’ founder, John E. Olsson, a graduate of the College of Engineering, by providing annual financial aid to engineering students on the Lincoln or Omaha campus studying civil, mechanical, electrical or biological systems engineering.

Another gift commitment of $20,000 grows an endowment that enables the college to provide annual teaching excellence awards to faculty members in the Department of Civil Engineering on the Lincoln or Omaha campus.

Tim Wei, dean of the College of Engineering, recognized Olsson Associates for being among the college’s top corporate partners. “Olsson Associates definitely shares our vision to become one of the top colleges of engineering in teaching and research in the nation,” he said. “We’re incredibly thankful for its partnership and wide range of support.”

Strittmatter says supporting the university comes naturally for their firm, because John E. Olsson created a company culture that places a value on support for education, community involvement and advancing the engineering profession.

In addition to financial support, Olsson Associates supports the College of Engineering in other meaningful ways. Company employees routinely provide class lectures and, as available, the firm offers internship and employment opportunities to the college’s students and graduates.

Olsson founded the company in 1956. He was 30 years old and had graduated from UNL just five years earlier. A native of Queens, N.Y., he ended up in Nebraska by chance, having visited relatives in Lincoln and becoming interested in attending UNL during his visit. He began Olsson Associates as its sole employee, added staff and services, and led the firm until 1976. He remained active in the firm until retiring in the early 1990s and continues to live in Lincoln.

Olsson enjoyed serving the College of Engineering through its Technology Advisory Council, and he received the college’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1996. In 2002, a room was named for the Olsson family in the college’s Othmer Hall in recognition of their longtime support and volunteer service.

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