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2007 Honorary Degree

Bruce Olson
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Bruce Olson has distinguished himself by having a highly successful career in financing, management, and investment businesses.

He is president and co-owner of BBI Group, a private investment group, and also serves as chairman of Envisioneering Medical Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of ultrasound and biopsy products for the urology and radiation oncology markets. He resides in St. Louis, Mo.

Mr. Olson was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and after high school, came to West Lafayette to attend Purdue, earning his bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1971 and a master's in industrial administration in 1972.

After graduation, he moved to New York to work for the Bank of New York, where he became head of the New England commercial lending group. He then joined St. Joe Minerals Corp., a $1 billion multinational metals and mining company, as manager of corporate development in New York before becoming vice president/finance for St. Joe International. He moved to St. Louis in 1985 to become vice president/international for St. Joe Minerals.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Olson co-founded, along with his wife, Kim, an acquisition business called Group One Capital. That company acquired and managed other businesses using the capital of its principals plus institutional debt. Group One Capital acquired companies in areas as diverse as electric products distribution, beauty products distribution, sunglass retailing, and luggage manufacturing.  More recently he founded BBI Group. In all, Mr. Olson has acquired over 20 companies.

He also is the past chair of the Missouri Health and Education Facilities Authority and is active in the community, serving on local boards. He and his wife funded the Olson Family Garden at the St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Mr. Olson has given back to Purdue in numerous ways. He spoke in the Krannert Executive Forum in 1994, has served as a member of the Krannert Dean's Advisory Council since 1996, and has donated more than $1 million to the Krannert School.  He was named recipient of the 2006 Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship Award.

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