COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M Professor Jim Olson has been named as the first person to receive the Inspiring the Spirit of Aggieland - 41 Award. This brand new award recognizes a Texas A&M University faculty or administrator whose leadership, example and character motivate others to share in their impact.
It is someone who exemplifies the Aggie core values and the values of President George H.W. Bush.
"Receiving his award was a complete surprise to me, I had no idea," Olson said. "Obviously, it was quite an honor to have been recognized as the recipient of the first Bush 41 Spirit Award."
What makes Professor Olson's achievement even more special is the relationship he had with the former president, dating back to his time in the CIA as a CIA operations officer.
"When he established his school down here, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, I was asked to come down to make certain that intelligence was part of the curriculum of his new school," Olson said. "President Bush was a great admirer of intelligence officers. He loved us, we loved him as well."
Olson has been at Texas A&M for the last 22 years, shaping the minds of the next generation. Many practitioners from the CIA like himself, the FBI, military, and NSA are what separate the Bush school from others across the country.
"Our country needs good intelligence. It needs good intelligence officers, and it needs what Texas A&M produces," Olson said. "Fine young men and women who really feel called to make a difference."
Olson said getting this award isn't just about honoring his work. It's about honoring the service of the man behind the award.
"If I had the opportunity to speak to President Bush today, I would tell him thank you, Mr. President, for being such a role model for all of us," Olson said. "For being someone who personified honor, integrity, and service to our country."
Olson said the highlight of his career was stealing information from the Russian government in Moscow and never getting caught.