MURFREESBORO — It did not take long for Florida transplant Linda Olsen to make a major impact as a new leader in the MTSU Office of Admissions.
Just weeks after starting her job as director of undergraduate recruitment, Olsen attended a local community function. Murfreesboro resident and MTSU alumnus Don Witherspoon (Class of 1964) also was in attendance.
Witherspoon, the National Alumni Association vice president, introduced a graduating high school student planning to attend another university to Olsen, who then invited the student to visit MTSU the following week.
“After coming to campus and meeting with faculty and administrators, the young lady has decided MTSU is the best place for her,” Olsen said. “She is now committed to her hometown university.”
For Witherspoon, who will replace 2015-16 National Alumni Association President Tony Beard July 1, “it was one of the more gratifying things I’ve seen in my years as an MTSU alumnus,” he said.
“It was tremendous they (MTSU) were willing to do that and provide an opportunity for somebody who is very deserving,” Witherspoon added.
“Don is an alumnus and community member, and it was his guidance along with everyone working together to bring a student to the university,” Olsen said.
Dr. Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for undergraduate recruitment, said MTSU “is delighted to welcome home one of our alumni to lead our efforts in recruiting outstanding students to our university.”
“Linda brings a love and appreciation for MTSU and for the students we serve,” Witherow added. “We are as excited to have her as she is to be with us. Linda is a great example of what it means to be True Blue.”
A 1998 graduate with a master’s degree in school counseling, Olsen said MTSU “has a sense of a small school with a feel of family.”
“Under President (Sidney A.) McPhee’s leadership, there’s an overall culture of caring for each student that includes every member of the community, both on and off campus, supporting students toward success,” she said.
Olsen comes to MTSU from Melbourne, Florida, where she was collegewide director of admissions and advising for Eastern Florida State College.
The first major event under Olsen’s leadership, MTSU Preview Day, occurred June 4 when nearly 400 prospective students and their families visited campus.
Olsen said history professor and Preview Day keynote speaker Ben Sawyer “provided an entertaining example of the dedication and care our expert faculty provide for MTSU students.”
She and the admissions staff are heavily involved with CUSTOMS orientation for freshmen and transfer students through the end of July. And they will be gearing up for this fall’s annual True Blue Tour across Tennessee, plus stops in Atlanta, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; and Bowling Green and Louisville, Kentucky.
“I’m excited about the potential for building an outstanding future class of outstanding students,” Olsen said. “We have an enthusiastic team of energetic admissions professionals who are ready for the upcoming fall, and the opportunity to show students what a great place MTSU can be for them.”
Olsen is completing her doctorate in higher education leadership and policy studies with the University of Central Florida. Her children include a son Randy, who lives in Portland, Oregon; and a son, Robert, and daughter, Rachel, have also moved to Murfreesboro and plan to eventually enroll at MTSU.
Linda Olsen is the daughter of Dr. Jim Calder, a professor emeritus in elementary and special education in the MTSU College of Education, and Beverly Calder, an adjunct supervising MTSU student teachers.