Linda J. Olson, JD'79
Robert H. McWilliams, Jr. Alumni Professionalism Award - 2005
Linda Olson received her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, majoring in English. Her decision to attend law school was driven by a plan to get a joint JD/MSW degree, and at the time DU was one of the few schools offering that option. She believed that a JD would enable more influence in reforming public policy that impacted the poor; ultimately she decided that another year of school and an MSW was not needed. She met husband, Mike Serruto, the last semester of law school and they married May 2, 1981. In her last year at DU Law, Olson received the Reginald Heber Smith Legal Services Fellowship legal services fellowship to work for Denver Metro Legal Aid. Little did she know that the fellowship would lead her to a twenty year-plus career at Colorado Legal Services (CLS) helping low-income Coloradans with various legal matters. Olson continues to associate with a huge network of non-lawyer advocates who identify issues, reform policy and push hard for system change and for the rights of their individual clients in the areas of welfare reform, homelessness, hunger, employment rights and health care access.