This archived article was written by: Katelyn Tresner
A native of Southeastern Utah will head the enrollment office at USU Eastern. Kristian Olsen replaced Greg Dart as the director of enrollment. He has big plans in mind for bringing great things to the college.
Olsen graduated from San Juan High School in Blanding, Utah.
“One hour I’m doing drama, the next is student government, the next is basketball practice… It’s kind of like this campus, a small high school allowed me to have more experiences,” Olsen said about his high school experiences.
He took concurrent enrollment credit from the Blanding campus of the College of Eastern Utah, and attended the Price campus for a year following graduation. “I’ve always had a soft spot for CEU. It was the first place I went to college.”
After serving a two year LDS Mission in Jamaica, Olsen transferred to Southern Utah University (SUU), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management.
He was involved with the student government at SUU, and eventually became the student body president, where Alex Herzog was his advisor. The two founded the alternate spring break club together, where they would take students to Mexico for service opportunities. Olsen says he and Herzog “have stayed professional and personal friends for years.” The club still runs at the cedar city college to this day.
Olsen worked for the college for two years as the director of school relations, where he helped run the enrollment management office and recruit for the college. Once he had graduated, Olsen transferred to the University of Connecticut Stamford, (UConn), where he received his master’s degree in higher education and student affairs.
He went on to work for the college as the student activities coordinator, until he received a job for a recruitment company, Inside Track, where he lived in New Jersey and later Portland, Oregon.
Eventually, Olsen couldn’t stay away from Utah any longer. He moved back to Bountiful, where he worked as an account manager for higher education for Data Mark, a company that focuses on marketing and advertising in colleges and higher education programs.
He soon was hired by North Western Mutual, where he recruited for full-time sales staff
and interns. “At the end of the day I was recruiting,” says Olsen, “it’s what I know, and it’s what I’ve done for a long time.”
But Olsen’s soft spot for CEU, and now USU Eastern soon was regained when Herzog informed him that a position for the director of student enrollment was available at the college. It seemed to be the job and opportunity he had been waiting for.
“I wanted to get back into education.” He stated, he chose to take the job at USU Eastern. “I really care about higher education and the mission of higher education, and the great things it does for individuals and communities… When this opportunity came along, it was just a no-brainer… Why wouldn’t I take the chance?”
Now Olsen has great plans for the college and for student growth. The goal is to have 4,000 students in four years, (by 2017). We’re currently at 2100+ students; by next fall we should have 2600 students, he said, “Greg Dart laid some really good ground work, now it’s just taking that plan and making some adjustments to put it into place.”
He plans to do this by enhancing relationships with high schools in the state, recruit people for the 4-year and 6-year programs that USU Eastern offers, and eventually have better out-of-state and international recruiting.
The most attractive aspect about this school to a potential student is “opportunity. I think we are the best school in the state to help students transition from high school to college.”
“A lot of people go to college and they just don’t know what to do. But why would you go to a larger school that you get lost in, and you pay a lot of money to go to, to try to figure out what you want to be? It’s better for a student to come to our campus, pay the lowest tuition in the state, have a lot of people who really care focused on really helping them discover what they want to do, and then finish their degree maybe elsewhere. It’s going to be much more inexpensive, with a lot more support.”
He shared a quote by Mindy Kaling, from the Mindy Project, who said; “If you’re a kid who’s not especially a star in your high school, I recommend going to a college in the middle of no where. I got all of the attention that I could have ever wanted.”
Olsen is dedicated to the cause of helping the school to grow and achieve the goals set for the next four years. He is a great asset to the college, and invites all new students to “Come and be a star on our campus! Come and get the attention you need to really excel.”