PITTSBURGH, PA, May 28, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Lester C. Olson, PhD, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Olson celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Dr. Olson is a professor and department chair of communication at the University of Pittsburgh. Teaching both undergraduate and graduate level courses, including Rhetorical Criticism, Rhetoric and Human Rights, and Visual Rhetoric, he originally joined the university faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor. During the length of his incredible tenure, he became renowned for his expertise and, in 1988, notably had the opportunity to teach in the department of rhetoric and communication as a visiting assistant professor at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Olson's formative years in the classroom, which began while pursuing his master's degree, included a teaching assistantship at Pennsylvania State University in University Park in 1977-79 and the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1980-83, where he held three Vilas research fellowships in 1983-84.
Becoming a published author for the first time in 1983, Dr. Olson's refereed essay concerning Normal Rockwell's Four Freedoms appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, which was rare for a graduate student. Subsequently, in 1991, Dr. Olson published his first book, "Emblems of American Community in the Revolutionary Era: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology." Other books to his credit include "Benjamin Franklin's Vision of American Community" in 2004, "Visual Rhetoric" in 2008 and "Human Rights Rhetoric" in 2012. He was virtually alone in his groundbreaking work on the visual culture of the American Revolution, attending as he did to the uses of visual symbols on mundane objects to communicate about the character of the emerging nation. Dr. Olson also authored numerous articles, essays and conference proceedings throughout his career in such publications as the Journal of Intergroup Relations, the Oxford University Press, the Cambridge University Press and Greenwood Press, to name only a few. His essays concerning Audre Lorde's public advocacy can be found in the Quarterly Journal of Speech (1997, 1998 and 2011), Philosophy & Rhetoric (2000), American Voices (2005), Queering Public Address (2007), The Responsibilities of Rhetoric (2010), The Literary Encyclopedia (2011), Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices in Communication Studies (2012), and Audre Lorde's Transnational Legacies (2015).
In 2010, Dr. Olson had the pleasure to participate as the director of the 12th Biennial Public Address Conference, which was hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. The conference theme was "Human Rights Rhetoric: Controversies, Conundrums and Community Actions." Five years later, in 2015, he served as a panel expert for a presentation titled "Human Rights as Political Tools: An Interdisciplinary Conversation" at the University of Pittsburgh. Headed by a faculty member of the political science department, Dr. Olson was among several colleagues to serve in that capacity. Dr. Olson was an early scholar to recognize the human rights ramifications of communication systems and practices and has offered a course on the topic almost every year since 1993.
Dr. Olson was named as a fellow of the Rhetoric Society of America in 2015 and a Centennial Scholar of the Eastern Communication Association in 2009. Other memberships significant to his career include the Rhetoric Society of America, where he notably received a Book Award in 2005, the National Communication Association, where he was selected for both the Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award and Golden Monograph Award, and the International Society for the History of Rhetoric. Dr. Olson was elected to serve on the Board of the Rhetoric Society of America during 2010-2014 and he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the National Communication Association during 2009-2011. Additionally, Dr. Olson is a member of the honorable societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Eta Sigma.
In 2010, Dr. Olson was invited by the Embassy of the Republic of Italy and the Library of Congress to attend a conference on Gaetano Filangiere and Benjamin Franklin, where he heard addresses by the former President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia. In 2013, Dr. Olson was honored with a formal invitation to attend an elevation for Laurent Pernot into the French Academy's "Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres" at the Sorbonne in Paris. It is a rare ceremony for an academic organization that dates back to the mid-1600s. Dr. Olson has delivered lectures in national and international fora and conducted research in approximately fifty libraries and archives around the globe in such places as Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Oxford, and Tours.
Born in North Dakota, Dr. Olson and his family relocated to a rural area of Minnesota, where he was raised on a farm. His parents, Donald Olson and Helen Sisley, were supportive of his studies. His siblings are Ginger Lee (Olson) Dauner and Jeffrey Olson. The first in his family to attend college, he received a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in mathematics and rhetoric at Moorhead State University in 1977. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Olson acquired a Master of Art in speech communication at Pennsylvania State University in 1979 and a Doctor of Philosophy in communication arts at the University of Wisconsin in 1984.
Receiving accolades for his work in education, his writing contributions and other accomplishments, Dr. Olson was first honored in 1986 with a Karl Wallace Award and, subsequently, in 1992, a James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award from the Speech Committee Association. The University of Pittsburgh recognized him as a Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher Award in 1996. A celebrated Marquis listee, Dr. Olson has been cited in the 25th and 26th editions of Who's Who in the East.
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