Phil Olsen’s Story (Group IV. Philippines, 1962-64)
Phil Olsen meeting with Congresswoman Mazie Hirono in Washington, DC (2011) about the past, present, and future of the Peace Corps. (left to right: Phil Olsen, Mazie Hirono, Michael B. Thomas, Ken Anderson, and John Southworth)

As a Peace Corps volunteer, I was trained at Pennsylvania State College during the Spring of 1962. I served four years as a volunteer, volunteer leader, and Regional Director in the Mindanao and Sulu Provinces of the Republic of the Philippines, as well as a Washington Desk Officer. I was appointed in October 1967 by University of Hawaii President Thomas Hamilton to direct Peace Corps Training activities then underway on the Islands of Hawaii, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. I held that position until mid-1972, when I was appointed associate Dean of the Mānoa College of Arts and Sciences.

The role of the University of Hawaii in the selection and training of Peace Corps volunteers, as well as in briefing and indoctrination of newly appointed Peace Corps staff members who visited Hawaii Training sites enroute to their assigned posts was critically important to the success of thousands of PCVs and staff throughout East Asia and the Pacific.

Phil Olsen
Group IV Philippines, 1962-64


  1. I was a Group VI Philippines PC Volunteer in Digos on the island of Mindanao, Philippines, 1965-67, & Peace Corps staff trainer in Hawaii, 1968-69. While in the Philippines, Phil Olsen was my Regional Director and he was always extremely supportive. He seemed to know when to make contact with us, which helped with our doing our work in our schools. Indeed, serving in the Peace Corps is a life changing experience. Little did I realize when I was teaching English as a Second Language in the Philippines that I would continue in that profession in the States as an ESL teacher-trainer in Hawaii! I was blessed to once again work with students and teachers from the Philippines who were immigrants in Hawaii, as well as immigrants from many different countries. Thanks, Phil, for all that you have done and for all the support you gave to me in the Philippines. Janice Myers McEwan

Add your comment