Tom Oleson was well-known by readers for his outspoken, right-of-centre views and the precise craftsmanship of his columns, but few people knew the man behind the long-time Winnipeg Free Press byline who passed away in 2012.
Peter Kaufmann did and he’s ensuring his good friend, who valued family and helped anyone who asked him for money, is remembered forever.
He established the Tom Oleson Scholarship Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation, which will help graduating students from Churchill High School, Oleson’s school, pursue education in liberal arts or journalism. It will be awarded annually to a student who demonstrates social responsibility, ideally helping the disadvantaged – a cause close to Oleson’s heart. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who respected hard work, learning, and engagement with world issues.
Kaufmann says Oleson would be “humbled” by the fund, which, to date, has received support from all quarters, including avid readers who never met the man – and didn’t always agree with his point of view – but admired his insight, intelligent arguments and prodigious vocabulary. Together, with his family, they’re keeping Oleson a household name in our community.
“His name and his legacy will be carried on for infinity through the Tom Oleson Scholarship at his alma mater… it’s the family legacy I think Tom would really cherish,” Kaufman says.