Harry F. Olson spent his professional career with the Radio Corporation of America (RCS). He started in 1982 with the Photophone Division of RCA in New Your City. He then moved to the RCA Victor Division in Camden, New Jersey and lastly served as staff vice-president with RCS Laboratories in Princeton, New jersey.
Mr. Olson retired in 1967, but was retained by the company as a consultant. Durning his retirement, Olson, who has authored seven books, also continued to add to his impressive list of publications.
During his career, Mr. Olson made a number of significant contributions to his field. He had more than one hundred patents granted in his name. In 1959, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, the American Physical Society, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and he served as president of the Audio Engineering Society.
Mr. Olson was associate editor of the Acoustical Society of America's Journal for some 30 years, and served on the Society's Executive Council from 1937-1940. He also served as the Society's vice-president from 1942 to 1944, president-elect from 1951 to 1952, and president from 1953 to 1954. He was awarded the Society's first Silver medal in Engineering Acoustics in 1974.
He was awarded the Society's highest honor, its Gold Medal, in 1981.
Harry Olson held four degrees fron the University: '24BE; '25MS; '28Ph.D.; and '32EE. The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is being presented to Mr. Olson posthumously. He died April 1, 1982, just a few days after he was selected to receive the award.
Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.