Jim Olson, the former chancellor of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and later president of the four-campus University of Missouri system, died last week.
He was a top-flight, highly respected university leader. He was a gentleman in every respect, but he could be tough. One long-time fellow educator emphasized Olson was "deceptively tough" and effective.
He was quiet in his manner and had a quick smile but could be direct and demanding when needed and did an excellent job in the difficult UMKC job. In fact, many believe Olson probably was the best chancellor UMKC has had in years and, likewise, one of the best presidents of the entire Missouri system.
He will be missed; America's system of higher education needs more Jim Olsons.