Scholarship Endowment Created in Honor of Teri Olson

Wife of founding board member; Endowment will fund one Mackinac Center intern annually from Hillsdale College

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — The legacy of the woman who came up with the Mackinac Center’s name will be honored through an endowment that will support one intern annually from Hillsdale College.

The Teresa L. Olson Scholarship Endowment was recently established in memory of the late wife of D. Joseph Olson, a founding member of the Mackinac Center and its longest serving board member. Olson shared the story at the Center’s 25th anniversary gala last October of how Teri named the Center, which was originally called the Michigan Research Institute.

“She said she couldn’t think of anything that was more uniquely Michigan than ‘Mackinac,’” he said.

The endowment will fund an intern annually from Hillsdale College who shows an aptitude in economics, political economy and the insurance and financial services industry. Olson said creating the endowment for a Hillsdale student to intern at the Mackinac Center ties together two entities he and Teri cared about deeply.

“There’s a real personal connection there,” he said. “The Mackinac Center and Hillsdale are two treasures for people in Michigan who love liberty and support limited government. They’re an oasis of sanity in a world gone mad.”

Olson added that focusing on students who are interested in the insurance and financial services industry also pays tribute to Teri’s memory. She was working in the claims department for Beacon Mutual Insurance Company in Columbus, Ohio, when they met in April of 1986. Joe was vice president and general counsel for Citizens Insurance at the time. Olson, a member of the Michigan Insurance Hall of Fame, retired as senior vice president from Amerisure in 2008. In 1995 he was appointed Michigan Insurance Commissioner and served in that capacity for more than two years.

“Teri worked for free-market ideals before the Mackinac Center even existed, and then quietly put her imprint on our trajectory ever after,” said Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman. “Now each year our young Hillsdale College scholars will learn about Teri’s commitment to the ideas they are studying.”

Olson said Teri also had a passion for public policy, having served as deputy clerk for Brighton Township and deputy supervisor of Green Oak Township in Livingston County, and also spent nearly two years as a legislative aide for their state representative.

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