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Art Olsen: "Helping Each Other is What Life is All About"

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Arthur "Art" Olsen

Don't be surprised when having a conversation with 91-year-old Arthur (Art) Olsen if the word "former" crops up quite often.

Olsen, a resident of the Las Vegas area since 1952, is a former attorney, former prosecutor, former justice of the peace, former commercial real estate salesman, former Clark County commissioner, and former two-term Nevada legislator. It would be a mistake to think, however, that there is anything at all "former" about Olsen when it comes to life itself.

"I am not a couch potato," he says, with feeling. "I like to stay busy. I have voted in every election since 1936—three times for Franklin Roosevelt. I am active in church. I'm working for Boulder City Hospital as a fund-raiser to help raise $3 million for a new emergency room, and I'm helping support two women in nursing school."

Olsen is also a strong supporter of UNLV and has established a charitable gift annuity with the UNLV Foundation. His history with the university goes back almost five decades.

"In 1956, when I was campaigning for justice of the peace, I gave a talk at UNLV," says Olsen, who would win the election and perform 15,000 marriages during his single two-year term. "Back then, the school was only one building—it looked like a barracks.

"Nobody could have foreseen the growth."

As someone who moved to Las Vegas when only 15,000 people lived in the city, Olsen may not have anticipated the coming progress, but he's certainly one of the longtime residents that helped build the community—and UNLV.

"They're doing a great job at the university, and I see my gift as helping future generations," says Olsen. "I believe in giving back, and the future of this country is the youth.

"Looking around you see so many people with all this money. What are they going to do? They can't take it with them.

"Helping each other is what life is all about."

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