Spencer Truman Olin

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Spencer Truman Olin
Born(1900-08-20)August 20, 1900
DiedApril 14, 1995(1995-04-14) (aged 94)
Jupiter Island, Florida,
United States
EducationCornell University
Known forSpencer T. & Ann W. Olin Foundation
Political partyRepublican Party
Board member ofOlin Corporation, Illinois Bell, Laclede Steel, St. Louis Union Trust Company
Spouse(s)Ann Whitney Olin
ChildrenSpencer T. Jr., Mary Dell, Barbara Ann, Eunice Whitney
Parent(s)Franklin W. Olin and
Mary Mott Moulton
Franklin Walter Jr., John Merrill

Spencer Truman Olin (August 20, 1900 – April 14, 1995) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He was an executive of the Olin Corporation, founded in 1892 by his father, Franklin W. Olin, eventually serving as first vice president of Olin Industries, though he reduced his involvement with the company after its 1954 merger with Mathieson.[1]

He was raised in Alton, Illinois. In 1921 he was graduated from Cornell University, where he had studied mechanical engineering,[2] and where he had joined Kappa Sigma fraternity like his father.[3]

Olin was very active in the Republican Party throughout much of his adult life. He was an important fundraiser for Dwight D. Eisenhower and served as the party's national finance chairman from 1958 to 1960 and treasurer of the Republican National Committee from 1960 to 1962.[1]

Outside of his professional and political life, he won a pro-am golf tournament with Arnold Palmer at The Greenbrier in 1954, beginning a forty-year friendship.[4] The win helped launch Palmer's career.[1] Later, when Olin donated $5 million to build a public golf course in Alton, Palmer agreed to design it.

He was a significant donor to the Washington University School of Medicine, whose first residence hall is named after him, its construction anchored by a $500,000 gift,[2] and also home to the Ann Whitney Olin Women's Building, named after his wife. At least seven professorships, fellowships, and scholarships and the university were funded through the Spencer T. & Ann W. Olin Foundation, which was established in 1958. The foundation also funded a variety of environmental groups, health and medical education and services, education, and arts groups in the St. Louis area and around the United States until it ceased operations in 2004.[5] Olin also gave generously to Cornell, his alma mater, where the research chemistry lab is named after him, as well as the annual Olin Lecture.

Spencer Olin died at his home in Jupiter Island, Florida in 1995 at age ninety-four.


  1. ^ a b c Thomas Jr., Robert McG. (April 17, 1995), "Spencer Truman Olin, Executive For Olin Corporation, Dies at 96", The New York Times, retrieved August 31, 2017
  2. ^ a b Holleman, Joe (April 17, 1995), "Spencer T. Olin, Industrialist, Philanthropist, Dies at 94", St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  3. ^ Prominent Alumni, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, retrieved August 31, 2017
  4. ^ About Us, Spencer T. Olin Community Golf Course, retrieved August 31, 2017
  5. ^ Kerth, Susan (Nov 21, 2004), "Olin Foundation board considers dissolving, disbursing $13 million", St. Louis Business Journal, retrieved August 31, 2017