Olson Hall

Olson Hall is home to 300 women, making it Taylor’s largest women’s hall and providing for increased enrollment when it was constructed in 1966. It was first called East Hall but renamed Olson Hall in 1974. The hall follows a traditional residence hall layout with rooms lining both sides of a T-shaped corridor. Each of its three floors is divided into wings.

Olson has a tradition of unique and themed pick-a-dates, including Murder Mystery, Tri-State, and Speedway car race pick-a-dates. On nice days, you can find students scattered on Olson’s front lawn, known as “Olson Beach.” Other hall activities include Christmas caroling in Upland and the Grace Olson Pageant in honor of the hall’s namesake.

Olson Hall

Olson Hall

Namesake: Grace Olson

Grace OlsonAmong Taylor faculty, Grace D. Olson ’27 holds a place as one of the most influential and universally revered. However, in 1950, university turmoil led to Olson’s forced resignation. An insecure administration misread Olson’s radical devotion to the institution and its faculty as a threat to power. Throughout this, Olson was a model of a servant leader, adopting her role as faculty advocate only in order to serve. 

Her return to Taylor in 1952, at the request of new campus leadership, provided Olson the opportunity to capitalize on her position as the formerly disenfranchised faculty champion. Instead, she returned and quietly demonstrated a humble spirit of service, forgiving what most viewed as her mistreatment at the hands of an unpopular administration, and simply recommitting herself to the work she had left. Olson served Taylor from 1945 to 1971 in the registrar office, as director of admissions, history professor, head of the history department, and chair of the social science division. 

Meet the
Hall Director

Read about Lisa Barber

Meet the Hall Director of
Olson Hall

Lisa Barber

There is something special about sharing stories with friends. This is especially true in Olson, where stories often become legends after years of being told time and time again.

That’s one of my favorite things about Olson—listening to the many stories told by the girls of the hall. The relational aspect of being a hall director is extremely rewarding. I love to listen as well as share my own stories with the girls. My goal is to bring a healthy balance of fun interactions and serious discussions with the hope both will strengthen and sustain the vitality of our community.

Olson was my home for three years when I was an undergrad at Taylor, and I’m excited to be back. God brought me back to Taylor after I worked as a Hall Director at Northwestern College in Orange County, IA. I loved that experience, but I’m glad to have returned for the MAHE (Master of Arts in Higher Education) program at Taylor. My position as Olson Hall Director has come as a blessing. It’s been delightful continuing the fun hall traditions, such as pancake night, as well as introducing some of my own. For instance, this year was a first for Olson Christmas caroling around Upland.

As my story at Taylor continues, I am increasingly shaped, challenged, and encouraged. I wish this for the girls of the hall as well. My hope is we would all feel we are a welcomed part of the story here at Olson, and we are all better for having lived together.

Meet the
Assistant Hall Director

Read about Tianna Clark

Meet the Assistant Hall Director of
Olson Hall

Tianna Clark

Living in close community with people is a unique experience that results in changed lives. Olson Hall is a place where lives are shared, stories are heard, and tradition thrives. Being a part of Olson Hall means participating in a community that seeks to live out their faith by working diligently to pursue education, intentional conversations, and all aspects of everyday life together.

Olson Hall has recently become my new home. I graduated from Huntington University in 2013 with a Social Work degree. I was very involved in residence life and served as a resident assistant for two years and a student mentor for incoming freshmen.

Throughout my college experience, my love for intentional community grew.  I learned so much about myself through my interactions with others. God has led me to the MAHE (Master of Arts in Higher Education) program at Taylor where I am the assistant hall director in Olson Hall. I am extremely excited to work with the women of Olson Hall: to learn all of the traditions, to listen to their stories, and to have fun! I hope to be a person that the women of Olson can come and talk to about life.

My hope for Olson Hall is it will be a thriving community where God is put first and other people are selflessly loved. I am continually challenged as I learn to live and interact with others around me. I am excited for the opportunity to live in community with the Olson women!