Tenhulzen Olson engages with students throughout Alumni Masters week

Thursday, April 6, 2023 - 1:45pm

by Kaitlin Van Loon

Jane Tenhulzen Olson, international human rights activist, was honored as the 2023 CoJMC Alumni Master, during Masters Week from March 22-24. Alumni Masters Week is a program sponsored by the Nebraska Alumni Association (NAA), the Student Alumni Association Board of Directors and the UNL Chancellor's Office. During Masters Week, outstanding alumni return to campus to share their experiences and knowledge with students.

Dean Veil and Jane Olson

UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications Dean Shari Veil and 2023 Alumni Master Jane Tenhulzen Olson at the Medallion Awards Dinner.

Tenhulzen Olson has spent a long and distinguished career promoting international peace and justice and performing humanitarian work. From 2004 to 2011, she chaired the international board of trustees of Human Rights Watch, the largest U.S.-based international human rights organization. She also was board chair of Survivor Corps, which was part of a coalition that received a Nobel Peace Prize for working to develop the International Landmine Ban Treaty.

After earning a bachelor’s from Nebraska in 1964, Tenhulzen Olson traveled extensively with humanitarian organizations to areas of international conflict, including Central America, South America, eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Today, she and her husband, attorney Ronald L. Olson, live in Pasadena, California.

While on campus, Tenhulzen Olson guest lectured in several CoJMC and human rights courses. She had dinner with CoJMC’s student ambassadors and Experience Lab student leads and met with students in Nebraska’s law program, the student alumni association and members of UNL’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter, of which she is an alumna.

CoJMC students and Dean Shari Veil at dinner with Tenhulzen Olson.

Associate professor and 90.3 KRNU general manager Rick Alloway interviewed Tenhulzen Olson about the future of human rights activism for Campus Voices. Listen to the episode here: https://share.transistor.fm/s/cdb0c7a5.

Tenhulzen Olson was also interviewed by students in Nebraska News Service, a statewide newswire service and on Nebraska Nightly, the college’s weekly broadcast that airs on LNK TV and YouTube. Both programs are student-led.

Jeannine Akamba, an advertising and public relations major with a human rights minor met with Tenhulzen Olson to chat about humanitarian causes. Akamba, who hopes to one day work for a human rights organization, is an intern at the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights, where she works closely with refugee communities and other immigrants.

“It was a pleasure for me to talk one on one with a person who is a model and inspiration for me,” Akamba said. “Jane is a person who has made humanitarianism her way of life and I can’t thank her enough for the precious advice she gave to me.”


Advertising and public relations student Jeannine Akamba snaps a photo with Jane Tenhulzen Olson after an interview. Tenhulzen Olson gifted Akamba her recent release "World Citizen: Journeys of a Humanitarian."

Naomi Delkamiller is another CoJMC student who had an impactful encounter with Tenhulzen Olson. Delkamiller is a sophomore  journalism and advertising public relations double major and a member of the NNA’s Student Alumni Association Board of Directors.

With her position on the board, Delkamiller connected with Tenhulzen Olson throughout Alumni Masters Week and was presented with an opportunity to help film the next generation of international humanitarians with Tenhulzen Olson at Atlantic Hope FTX; a multi-day, civilian-led training exercise created by the Consortium for Humanitarian Service and Education that took place on Northwest Missouri State’s campus from March 30 - April 2.

“I’ve been captivated by Jane’s life as a journalist and advocate for human rights and I was honored to accept her invitation to capture the weekend,” Delkamiller said. “I am so thankful to Jane for believing in me and giving me this unexpected opportunity to work with filmmaker Tippy Bushkin and learn from other students on the film crew.”

Journalism and advertising and public relations student Naomi Delkamiller and Jane Tenholzen Olson documenting the Atlantic Hope FTX humanitarian training exercise on Northwest Missouri State campus.

Tenhulzen Olson also interacted with the Lincoln community through speaking at a Lincoln Rotary Club 14 meeting and meeting with Matt Wynn, executive director of the Nebraska Journalism Trust which launched and funds the Flatwater Free Press.


Jane Tenholzen Olson speaks at the Lincoln Rotary Club 14 meeting.

Since 1964, more than 400 alumni have participated in Alumni Masters. The selection of the Alumni Masters is competitive. Candidates are alumni who have shown great promise, success and leadership in their fields. Each spring, a committee of faculty and administrators makes recommendations to the chancellor, who chooses the participants for the program.

To learn more about Master’s Week visit https://www.huskeralum.org/s/1620/index.aspx?sid=1620&gid=1&pgid=504.