seal  Purdue News

August 4, 2004

Purdue names new executive vice president and treasurer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Morgan R. Olsen, vice president for business and finance at Southern Methodist University, has been named Purdue University's new executive vice president and treasurer, the university announced today (8/4).

Morgan R. Olsen

Olsen, who has more than a decade of experience as the top fiscal officer at three universities and a doctorate in higher education, will assume his duties at Purdue sometime in September. His appointment is contingent on approval by the Purdue Board of Trustees.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said Olsen possesses the capabilities and experience to assure a smooth transition from Kenneth P. Burns, who currently holds the position and has announced his plans to retire on Aug. 31.

"Morgan Olsen brings a wide range of financial expertise and experience, as well as great intellectual depth to this strategic position," Jischke said. "Purdue's executive vice president and treasurer position goes far beyond budget numbers into the decision-making process for applying our resources to maximum effect and with the highest efficiency in our academic and research enterprises.

"Dr. Olsen is coming at a time when we are making great progress on the Campaign for Purdue, building Discovery Park and implementing a system-wide strategic plan. In the next few years, we will be making important financial decisions that will set the course of the university for decades to come.

"Purdue has been fortunate to have outstanding financial leadership from Ken Burns, and I'm deeply grateful for his contributions. In Morgan Olsen, I am confident we have found a worthy successor who will build on Purdue's strong fiscal foundation."

As executive vice president and treasurer, Olsen will oversee a $1.5 billion annual budget and is responsible for all university fiscal matters and physical facilities, including securities, properties, endowment funds, business and financial affairs, residence halls, human resources, the Purdue Memorial Union, the Elliott Hall of Music and relationships with the university's affiliated foundations and corporations. 

Olsen said he was looking forward to getting started in his new position.

"I am pleased to be joining the Purdue leadership team at such an important time in the university's history," Olsen said. "The opportunity to play a part in Purdue's physical and financial development, the strategic plan and other important projects is exciting. My family and I also look forward to becoming a part of the community."

While at SMU, Olsen oversaw the implementation of a comprehensive enterprise resource planning system that encompasses all the university's financial data, fund-raising records, student and faculty-staff data, and payroll system. Following a school-record $542 million capital campaign, Olsen played an integral part in a major capital infrastructure investment program at SMU that included a new football stadium, art museum, student-services building, academic quadrangle and two classroom-laboratory buildings.

Olsen joined SMU in Dallas in 1999 from Eastern Illinois University where he served as vice president for business affairs and treasurer and held the rank of associate professor in the college student personnel program. Prior to that, he served as vice president and chief business officer at Emporia State University in Kansas.

Olsen, a Bismarck, N.D., native, earned a bachelor's degree (summa cum laude) and master's degree in public administration from the University of North Dakota, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his doctorate in higher education from the University of Kansas.

Burns, who began his Purdue career in 1967, has held the position since 1998, after spending five years as vice president for business services and assistant treasurer. From 1981-93, he served as the university's vice president for physical facilities.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Martin Jischke, (765) 494-9709

Morgan R. Olsen, (214)768-1178 (office); (214) 521-0485 (home),

Ken Burns, (765) 494-9705,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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