Monday, Nov 12, 2018
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Former BGSU president dies

Paul Olscamp served for 13 years, retiring in 1995


Dr. Paul Olscamp, in 1994.

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BOWLING GREEN -- Paul Olscamp, who was president of Bowling Green State University for 13 years , died Tuesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the university announced today.

Mr. Olscamp was 77. A cause of death was not reported.

He retired in June, 1995, a year before his contract with the university expired. He made public his plans in 1994 and that year, BGSU trustees decided to name a classroom building planned for campus after the outgoing president.

In retirement, Mr. Olscamp was an interim president of the University of South Dakota and of Mayville State University in North Dakota.

At BGSU, he was credited for leading the university through difficult financial times while supporting development of what became the Center for Photochemical Sciences and construction of a Physical Sciences Building. 

He had a perennially rocky relationship with faculty during his tenure. In 1990, several members of the faculty senate tried to introduce a “no confidence” vote on his presidency.

“My biggest problem at Bowling Green for 12 years has been the same problem all through those 12 years,” Mr. Olscamp said on The Editors public affairs television program in 1994, after announcing his retirement. “I have not succeeded in establishing the friendly relationship with the faculty that I wanted to establish.”

Mr. Olscamp oversaw the opening of East Hall, the Fine Arts Center, and Perry Field House. A native of Montreal, he also was a champion of BGSU’s Canadian Studies program.

He had bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario and a doctorate from the University of Rochester. His academic field was philosophy, but he later wrote on higher education management. As president, he taught one philosophy course a semester for several years.

He was a former associate dean of the college of humanities at Ohio State University, where he had been on the philosophy faculty. He was a former vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculties at Roosevelt University. He was a former executive assistant to the chancellor and president and a vice chancellor for student programs at Syracuse University.

Survivors include his wife, Ruth; daughter, Rebecca, and son, Adam, according to BGSU.

Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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