SDSU journalism educator retiring after 32 years

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — An educator in South Dakota State University’s School of Communication and Journalism is retiring after 32 years.

Lyle Olson graduated from South Dakota State University in 1976 with a degree in journalism. He spent time in newsprint and public relations, until returning to SDSU 13 years later.

“One of my favorite professors said, ‘I’m leaving. Apply for my job,’ and I got it. I was rather surprised, and I got the position in the fall of ’89,” Olson said.

Olson taught for 25 years as a professor, and has held a few administration roles the past 7 years. He’s been the director of the School of Communication and Journalism since July of 2018.

“At some point, my role kind of changed in working with students. It kind of became more mentoring faculty. Jim Helland was in my office almost daily when he first started teaching and now he’s a better teacher than I am,” Olson said.

“He gives good advice, because he has been here for 32 years and he’s seen so many things that I had never seen, you know, because I spent 27 years as a journalist. So I was a journalist, but I was pretty new at teaching, so he was a great resource for me to come to and ask him tons of questions,” journalism instructor Jim Helland said.

Advertising professor Roxanne Lucchesi started at SDSU on the same day as Olson.

“He’s taught so many different classes, both at undergrad and graduate level, that it’s been pretty fun to watch him be able to do that,” she said. “He’s a really good example of what a good teacher is. He is definitely a learner, and he brings enthusiasm for life.”

“I walk into the door of this building and just think, I can’t believe I’ve had a 32 year career here and I ended up being in charge of the school. It’s just kind of a dream come true,” Olson said.

Olson plans to spend more time with his grandchildren, golfing, carpentry and would like to pursue writing some magazine articles.

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