A. Ray Olpin

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A. Ray Olpin donning academic robes with the assistance of Church President George Albert Smith © 2003 Utah State Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

A. Ray Olpin served as president of the University of Utah from 1946 to 1964. During his tenure, enrollment at the university grew from 4,000 to 12,000 students and new programs were introduced to accommodate the growth. He also started a 10-year building program that saw the completion of thirty new buildings.

Olpin was born on June 1, 1898, in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He entered Brigham Young University business school when he was 16 years old and completed one year before he left his studies to serve as a missionary for four years in Japan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He earned dual bachelor degrees in mathematics and physics in 1923. He then received a PhD in physics from Columbia University.

He directed research departments at Kendall Mills in North Carolina and at Ohio State University. He also worked at Bell Laboratories and his research led to the first television broadcast. He also worked on the Manhattan project that developed the first atomic bomb, then helped in efforts to rebuild Japan after World War II.

Olpin died on March 7, 1983. He and his wife Elva had four children.