A. Ray Olpin

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A. Ray Olpin
A. Ray Olpin.jpg
University of Utah
Term 1946 – 1964
Predecessor LeRoy E. Cowles
Successor James C. Fletcher
Born June 1, 1898
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Died March 7, 1983(1983-03-07) (aged 84)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Alma mater Brigham Young University
Columbia University
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Children Virginia, Helen, Barbara, Howard

Albert Ray Olpin (June 1, 1898 – March 7, 1983) was president of the University of Utah from 1946 to 1964. During his presidency the university quadrupled in size and the enrollment tripled from 4,000 to 12,000 students.[1]

Biography[edit]

Olpin was the eldest son of eight children and was raised in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He was accepted into the Brigham Young University business school at 16 years of age. But, he left school a year later to serve a four-year mission in Japan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[2] When Olpin returned he switched majors and graduated from Brigham Young University with bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics in 1923. In 1930 he received a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University.[2] He then worked at Bell Laboratories where he conducted research that led to the first television broadcast. He directed research departments at Kendall Mills in North Carolina and at Ohio State University. On October 16, 1946 he became the seventh president of the University of Utah. He continued as president until his retirement in 1964, at which time he accepted the title of "President Emeritus" and continued working with the university as a consultant.[2]

He also worked on the Manhattan project that developed the first atomic bomb, and then helped in efforts to rebuild Japan after WWII.

Olpin died in Salt Lake City on March 7, 1983.[2]

University growth[edit]

Many of the buildings on campus today were built under President Olpin's administration. Olpin started a 10 year building program in which 30 buildings were completed, including the Milton Bennion Hall, the Merrill Engineering Building, and the A. Ray Olpin Union Building.[1] Olpin worked to resolve challenges less frequently faced by larger, more established institutions, including defending academic freedom and educating local politicians about the potential for the University of Utah to become the state's flagship university.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "A. Ray Olpin". University of Utah. 2007. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Albert Ray Olpin Presidential Records". University of Utah Marriott Library. Retrieved 4/1/09. 
  3. ^ Peterson, Anne Palmer. Years of Promise: The University of Utah's A. Ray Olpin Era, 1946-1964. University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City, 2009.
Academic offices
Preceded by
LeRoy E. Cowles
President of the University of Utah
1946–1964
Succeeded by
James C. Fletcher