Andrew Olson



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Andrew OlsonDr. Andrew C. Olson, Jr., was born November 10, 1917 in San Diego and attended the Training School of the San Diego Normal School, decades before it became San Diego State University. He graduated from Roosevelt Junior High and San Diego High School before returning to San Diego State as an undergrad in Zoology. Olson continued his graduate studies at Berkeley and the University of Idaho, before serving as an Aerial Photographic Officer for the US Army Air Corps during World War II.

After the war, Olson returned once again to San Diego State College, this time as an instructor, and earned his Ph.D. in Zoology at Oregon State University. He also served as chair of SDSU's Zoology department and a teaching staff member of the National Audubon Society's Camp of the West ecology workshop.

Dr. Olson retired in 1980.

1991 interviews with Andy Olson, SDSU Professor Emeritus of Zoology, 1946-1980.

Download the PDF transcript: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4.

Dr. Olson is unique in that he is a San Diego native who not only attended the Training School at the San Diego Normal School as a youth, but also attended San Diego State College as a student and later became a professor here. In these interviews totaling approximately 3 hours and 25 minutes, Olson describes the area near the San Diego Normal Training School and his early memories, including seeing Charles Lindbergh next to the Spirit of St. Louis before he made his famous flight in 1927, and visiting the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. He also discusses his activities as a student at San Diego State College and the University of Idaho. Olson further describes how he met his wife, and his job in the Army Air Corps as an aerial photographer during World War II.

Olson spends a good deal of time discussing the San Diego State campus when he was here as an instructor, particularly influential people on the campus in the 1940s, the many councils and committees he served on, and the campus transition to a Biological Sciences department (versus separate Zoology, Biology, and Botany departments). Olson concludes by talking about his myriad leisure and volunteer activities, including those with the International Society for Correlative Biological Research.

Interviewed by Lyn Olsson on 7/11/91 and 7/15/91.

Image credit: Professor Andrew Olson in 1969, University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections & University Archives.

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