MADISON — David W. Olien, senior vice president for administration with the University of Wisconsin System, was today named the 2001 recipient of the national Marvin D. “Swede” Johnson Achievement Award.

The award, created in 1995, was presented in San Diego by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC).

Along with the Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation in State Relations, presented today to Owen Holmes of California State University, Fullerton, the Johnson Award is the only national award that recognizes higher education state relations officers for their dedication to advancing the needs of colleges and universities.

“Through their relentless, and often times unacknowledged, work these winners have profoundly improved the lives of all members of their campus communities,” said CASE President Vance T. Peterson. “We are pleased to honor these distinguished professionals who, through their work, have greatly improved the condition of higher education and have led by example to advance the needs of colleges and universities everywhere.”

Criteria for the Johnson Award included 1) motivation/coordination/stewardship; 2) support from policymakers and colleagues; and 3) extraordinary contributions over a significant period of time.
Biographical Profile

David W. Olien has served as Senior Vice President for Administration in the University of Wisconsin System since 1997. From 1993 to 1997, he was Vice President for University Relations, with responsibility for government relations and public affairs. Prior to coming to Wisconsin, Olien spent 14 years with the University of Illinois, including four years in legislative relations, three years in development, and seven years as executive assistant to the president.

At Illinois, he was a pioneer in building a broad-based and integrated state legislative advocacy program. Prior to working for the university, he served six years on the staff of the legislative leadership and three years as a journalist with Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers.

Olien extended his impact by helping establish the annual State Relations Conference (co-hosted by CASE, NASULGC, AASCU and AACC) as a way to bring together state relations professionals from around the country. According to CASE, Olien’s “awareness early on of the professional needs of state relations officers has shown him to be one of the most forward-thinking and enterprising executives in higher education.”

Olien grew up in New Richmond and received a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1970), an M.A. degree in political science from the University of Illinois-Springfield (1974), and an M.S. degree in higher education administration from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (1989).


For additional information about the awards program, contact:

Matthew Long, CASE
(202) 478-5582 or

Barbara McCuen, CASE
(202) 478-5640 or


Kevin Boatright
(608) 263-2227 /