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History


Science Olympiad began when Dr. Gerard J. Putz, Regional Science Consultant for Macomb County Intermediate School District in Michigan, invited John C. "Jack" Cairns, State Science Supervisor for Delaware Department of Instruction, to share the Science Olympiad program with Macomb County educators on March 29, 1982. The invitation was prompted by an article on the Delaware Science Olympiad (The Science Teacher, December 1977) written by Douglas Macbeth, past Delaware State Science Supervisor, that was brought to Dr. Putz's attention by Michigan Science Teachers Association President David Larwa. The Delaware Science Olympiad was patterned after similar events in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. After two successful workshops at the Macomb Intermediate School District (March 1982) and the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Estate (January 1983), science education leaders in Southeastern Michigan planned two very successful tournaments at Lawrence Institute of Technology (April 1983) and Oakland University (May 1984).

These two tournaments were so successful that Dr. Putz convinced Mr. Cairns that they should share the program with the rest of the nation. The Science Olympiad program was presented to the Council of State Science Supervisors at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference in Boston in 1984 and sponsors were solicited from the conference exhibitors. Dr. Putz's experience with the Army (Lt. Col. Air Defense Artillery, retired) and the understanding of its continued need for a high-tech modern work force led him to the Army's booth. After much discussion, the Army decided to sponsor a National Leadership Seminar to determine the level of interest before they committed to sponsoring the first Science Olympiad National Tournament. Leaders from all 50 states and Puerto Rico were invited to this first seminar at the St. Clair Inn in Michigan in the summer of 1984. Event supervisors, coaches and students so impressed the United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) executives and the N.W. Ayer advertising agency that the Army decided to sponsor Science Olympiad's national founding.  The first annual Science Olympiad National Tournament was hosted by Michigan State University in May, 1985, with 17 states participating. Currently in 2012, there are 6,400 secondary schools from 49 states participating, with an additional 10,000 elementary schools holding Science Olympiad tournaments or hands-on events.  The following states have hosted previous Science Olympiad National Tournaments:
 

Year

Institution

Tournament Site Coordinators

1985Michigan State UniversityDr. Harold Stonehouse
1986Michigan State UniversityDr. Harold Stonehouse
1987Ohio State UniversityLinda Roberts
1988Delaware State UniversityDr. William Macintosh
1989University of Colorado, BoulderSue Brandon & Dan Michaels
1990Clarion UniversitySue Zamzow
1991Penn Valley Community CollegeCharles Gosselin
1992Auburn UniversityDr. Marlin Simon & Dr. W.D. Perry
1993University of So. Colorado, PuebloDr. Harold McConnell & John Reinert
1994University of Arizona, TucsonMary Lou Rankin & Gil McLaughlin
1995Indiana UniversityLisa Townsend & Tina Gilliland
1996Georgia Institute of TechnologyDr. Milton Stombler & Ray Vito
1997North Carolina State UniversityPhil Dail
1998Grand Valley State Univ., MIMary Ann Sheline, Sandi Bacon & G. Eacker
1999Chicago Museums & Univ. of ChicagoBrent Williamson & Five Museum & University Host Presidents
2000Eastern Washington Univ., SpokaneJean Cavanaugh & Heather McKean
2001Univ. of Colorado, Colorado SpringsDr. Dan Dandapani & Linder Winter
2002University of Delaware, NewarkLyn Newsom, Peggy Vavalla & Fred Siegel
2003Ohio State University, ColumbusSarah Sieling, CeAnn Chalker & Tim Taylor
2004Juniata College, Huntingdon, PADr. Ron Pauline
2005University of Illinois, Urbana, ILHoward Guenther, Kris Campbell & Brent Williamson
2006Indiana University, Bloomington, INTina Gilliland
2007Wichita State University, Wichita, KSGreg Novacek & Harry Gregory
2008The George Washington University, Washington, DCKathy Melvin, Robert Snyder & Fred Siegel
2009Augusta State University, Augusta, GADr. Bill Wellnitz
2010University of Illinois, Urbana, ILHoward Guenther & Joe Simmons
2011University of Wisconsin, Madison, WIVan Valaskey & Gary Graper
2012University of Central Florida, Orlando, FLMike McKee & Dr. Sam Richie
2013Wright State University, Dayton, OHCeAnn Chalker & Terri Mileo