Friday, March 2, 2012

Cougar comes back to the pack

Todd Olson and his family of CougarsTodd Olson, bottom right, and his Cougar clan.

Not everyone in Todd Olson’s family went to Washington State University. Some went to Washington State College.
     “I count 14 relatives” who are Cougars, said Olson. That number encompasses four generations going back to the 1920s, and includes great-aunts and uncles, father, mother, sister, wife, nephews, nieces, and a variety of in-laws.
     Olson was himself working toward a degree at WSU-Pullman in 1989. Then he dropped out due to a common pitfall: Youth.
More...     “The best reason I can give you is that I was 20,” he said.  “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I thought I would take a year off.  Then I met a girl and tried to transfer to where she got a job teaching, and didn’t get in.”
     The girl was Kelli Campbell. She’s been Kelli Olson for 19 years. The couple has two children and lives in Bonney Lake, Wash.
     Todd became director of operations for a granite and marble wholesaler in Seattle. He realized that he needed a college degree for both professional mobility and personal pride. “There are certain expectations in my family,” he said. “I’m the only one in my family who hasn’t finished college, and I always regretted that.
     Future generations also had an influence. “I have always stressed the importance of school to both of my kids,” he said, “and felt somewhat hypocritical not having finished myself.”
     Because he was working full time, he wanted an online program. Given his family history, he didn’t have much trouble choosing where to apply. Todd was accepted into WSU Online on Feb. 15 and begins work on his business degree this summer. That makes him the 15th and newest Coug in the family. But his daughter, 17, and son, 14, are already imbued with the family tradition:
     “Both my kids knew the WSU fight song before they were in kindergarten,” Olson said.

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