Education | Faculty

Professor emeritus set state and national math education standards

Charles Olson, professor emeritus of education and mathematics, died Oct. 29, 2019. He was 78 years old.

Charles Olson | photo by SPU ArchivesBorn and raised in Longview, Washington, Olson attended Lower Columbia Community College before studying education at Western Washington University. A math and science scholarship enabled him to earn a master’s in mathematics at Washington State University. By 1977, he added a doctorate in education from the University of Washington.

Olson joined the Seattle Pacific faculty in 1981, where he became known among  colleagues and students alike as an encourager. Olson was a member of multiple state and national mathematics councils. He also consulted in mathematics education in school districts throughout the Northwest. In 1990, he earned a Burlington Northern “Excellence in Teaching” award. Olson retired from SPU in 1995.

Olson was a longtime active member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Everett, where he taught and sang in the choir. He and his wife, Judy, who met in high school, were parents of two children. As his family grew, he was active coaching basketball and soccer.

Olson is survived by Judy, his wife of 56 years, children ERIC OLSON ’90 and LISA OLSON-KELLY ’84, MED ’91, and five grandchildren.

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