In March 2019, Thunderbird alumna Chelsea Olson '13 took her last adventure far too soon. In her memory, her friends, family, colleagues, and classmates have launched a scholarship in her name. Chelsea dedicated her career to education with an emphasis on global curriculum. She spent 17 years at Thunderbird, providing key business, strategy, and operational support, which impacted nearly all those connected with the School during her tenure. In addition, she completed her MBA in Global Management in 2013. The people who love her can think of no better way to celebrate her life and her impact than through a scholarship that will give others access to education.
Chelsea often said that she didn’t believe in collecting things, but rather, she believed in collecting experiences. Her time at Thunderbird was one long collecting spree. She traveled extensively – building Thunderbird’s footprint in Latin America (where she was able to use her perfect Spanish), studying abroad with her E21 classmates, helping a woman entrepreneur in Peru through a TEM (Thunderbird Emerging Markets) Labs consulting project, spending weeks on end in cold Moscow with the Thunderbird CBSD (Center for Business Skills Development) team. These voyages are only the tip of a very large global iceberg. The only continent Chelsea didn’t conquer was Antarctica.
Her collection of experiences didn’t end with global travel. While at Thunderbird she co-authored the Thunderbird history book, led new student orientation (which included leading a flash mob of dancers), helped form a Thunderbird bicycling club, somehow convinced the school to create a “Global Cocktail Lounge” pop-up bar that served ‘Thunder-tinis,’ and inexplicably (to those how knew of her suspect cooking skills) won the Thunderbird Bake-Off.
Chelsea danced, laughed, worked hard, wore rhinestones, and squeezed every ounce of enjoyment out of every experience. If you donate to this scholarship, know that the money will be invested in students who embody “Chelsea-ness.”
Memories shared by donors to Chelsea's scholarship...
Her laughter, trips to Spain, Sweden and DC, lots of calls, lots of e-mail exchange, beer, wine, steak, and many many more.... Hiroshi Hamada
Chelsea was one of the BEST ambassadors of Thunderbird. Jacques Tapiero
Her laugh! Megan Petty
The smile, the joy, you will be missed, Chelsea. Sarah Cody
Chelsea had the most beautiful smile, just like her mother's. I love how she shared so many of her triathlon memories on Facebook! So glad she shared this with me. Cheryl Spaulding
Chelsea had one of the most "can do" spirits of anyone I have known. Incredibly bright and energetic...she will be missed by many!! Diane Ruebling
Cowgirl boots, really high heel shoes with bling, a smile that brightened a room, smart and caring. With love to Barb, Blake and Tony.
Ron and Jan Enderle
Chelsea was a beloved friend and colleague and she is deeply missed. Patrick McDermott
The look on her face at Kellie and Michael's wedding. The pure joy she had when we took our first international trip together. That smile and that laugh, and most all grace. I will always love you with all that I am. I will live a big life for you. Tony Roush
To donate by check, please send the check to:
ASUF - Thunderbird
Attn: Financial Services
PO Box 2260
Tempe, AZ 85280-2260
Please make the check payable to “ASU Foundation – Thunderbird”; Memo: "Chelsea Olson Memorial Scholarship"
All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation, and in the event the funds raised reach $25,000, the gifts will be permanently endowed.