Dr. Neil C. Olson was appointed Dean of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007.
Olson earned a bachelor's degree in veterinary science in 1973 (high distinction) and a doctor of veterinary medicine in 1975 (high distinction) from the University of Minnesota. He completed a small animal internship at Cornell University (1976) and a small animal surgery residency at Michigan State University (1979). He also earned a doctorate in physiology from Michigan State University in 1982.
Olson joined the faculty at North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) as an assistant professor in 1982. In 1985 and 1990, respectively, he was promoted to associate professor and full professor at NCSU. Olson went on to hold a number of administrative appointments there, including director of graduate programs, director of the Summer Research Internship Program, and director of the Biomedical Imaging Center. He was appointed senior associate dean for research and graduate studies in 1998. In 2000 he was appointed director of Centennial Biomedical Campus at the NCSU CVM. In this capacity he had oversight of the CVM master plan as well as construction/renovation of several major CVM buildings.
In 1979, Olson received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. He was awarded the Beecham Award for Research Excellence in 1985, the Outstanding Scientist Award from Sigma Xi in 1986, received the Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award at the NCSU Honors Convocation in 1986 and was recognized with the Basler Taler Coin Award in Recognition for Outstanding Research in Animal Health in 1993. He has served as a chairman at the annual meetings of the Research Workers in Animal Disease and the Comparative Respiratory Society. He also was elected to the National Board of Directors for the Comparative Respiratory Society in 1985 and 1991. Olson’s research has focused on cardiopulmonary pathophysiology and animal models of human disease.
During his 5 years as Dean at MU, Olson has attained significant accomplishments. For example, he conceived and executed a 60% increase in professional enrollment. This provided substantial new tuition revenue for the CVM (~$4 M/year) during a period when state appropriations have been reduced. While at MU, he has hired 27 new faculty during a time when faculty numbers have been shrinking in many peer colleges. Regarding planning for new facilities, his team recently completed architectural programming for a new 140,000 gsf academic facility. Recently, Olson’s vision, leadership and innovativeness resulted in privatization of a College founded enterprise at a purchase price of $43M as well as establishing a new animal radiation oncology and imaging facility in a suburb of St. Louis. During this past academic year he launched development of a new CVM Strategic Plan (“Vision 2020”) that is bold, innovative, collaborative, flexible, and engaging.
Since accepting the position as Dean of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, Olson has served on numerous boards and councils, including the University of Missouri Economic Development Council as chairman of the Committee to Attract New Businesses, the Board of Directors for the Missouri Innovation Center at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and the American Royal Board of Directors in Kansas City, MO. He is also on the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor Advisory Board and is a member of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association Executive Board.