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Olver Recognized with Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching

Posted: March 31, 2014

Department of Animal Science's Dale Olver has been recognized for his outstanding work with students, encouraging and teaching.
President Rodney Erickson presents the Atherton award to Dale Olver.

President Rodney Erickson presents the Atherton award to Dale Olver.

 Dale Olver is well-known for his passion for teaching students, as well as his ability to mentor them for success both in their academic and professional careers.  His love of imparting knowledge to undergraduates has been recognized by Penn State University with The George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, named for the seventh president of the University (1882-1907), and presented each year to faculty members who have devoted substantial effort to undergraduate teaching. He is an instructor in Dairy and Animal Science in the Department of Animal Science and is an undergraduate advisor.

Dr. Terry Etherton, head of the Department of Animal Science, in supporting Olver's nomination wrote, "Dale spends countless hours preparing for class; he is a superb teacher, capturing students' attention and encouraging them to become involved to make the most of their academic careers. This is an extremely well-deserved honor, and I offer sincere congratulations to Dale." Etherton noted that his responsibilities range from the large-enrollment introductory Animal Science 201 class to coaching the judging team and co-advising the nationally recognized Dairy Science Club.

In presenting the award, it was noted that Olver structures his courses so that students advance from learning basic functional skills in first-year seminars to a subject-matter focus for sophomores and juniors to the integration of information and decision-making in junior- and senior-level courses. "As they progress through our courses, they learn to work in teams, evaluate data and defend their decisions and plans through both oral and written presentations," Olver said.

Olver's success reaches far beyond the classroom as he recruits, encourages, mentors and advises students throughout their collegiate career. As a co-advisor to the Penn State Dairy Science Club, he has led the club to an extraordinary level of success: it has received the annual Outstanding Student Affiliate Chapter Award from the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) eleven times since 1998. 

Olver also serves as a coach of the dairy judging team which has also met with success over the years, including winning the 2012 Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging contest at the World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI. He is advisor to the Coaly Society, a College of Agricultural Sciences leadership organization.

Olver has been recognized with other teaching awards, including the Paul R. and Joan M. Shellenberger Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the College of Agricultural Sciences, 2013; Land O'Lakes, Purina Feed LLC Teaching Award in Dairy Production (ADSA), 2009; Gamma Sigma Delta Teaching Award, College of Agricultural Sciences, 2004 and the College of Ag Sciences Alumni Society Excellence in Advising Award, 2003.

He served as president of the National Dairy Shrine in 2013 and presided over the group's annual meeting when it moved to Harrisburg in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Pennsylvania All-American Dairy Show.

Olver grew up on a dairy farm in Wayne County and is the son of Robert and Arlene Olver of Honesdale.  He greatly benefited in his 4-H career from the guidance of outstanding club leaders and extension educators, and these experiences have led him to stay involved with dairy youth. Today, he and Penn State Dairy Science Club members coordinate the PA Junior Dairy Show.  The club is also very involved with many state junior breed association activities.