Olga Jorgensen Strimple, also known as “Jorgy” to her classmates, attended UNO from 1915 through 1919, when it was only known as Omaha University (OU). At that time, OU was located on 24th and Pratt, and held its first classes in the Redick Mansion. It was a time when women wore long skirts with boots and neat, wide brimmed hats, when getting an education was an honor and a privilege for which students fought. Olga started her journey at OU and stayed true to her school; she became one of the most well-known and involved alumni in UNO’s rich history, and her legacy resonates even today.
Known as a good student and talented editor, Olga was president of her class of 19 students, as well as a member of several extracurricular groups. She studied the arts while still finding time to serve as editor of the YELLow Sheet student newspaper, and later, the Gateway. She played basketball, swam, and attended sporting events. A member of Kappa Psi Delta sorority, she also served on the Gala Day Central Committee. Always a believer in the power of education, Olga was also an early proponent of service learning. Upon commencement, she became the Gateway Alumni Editor and President of the University of Omaha Alumni Association in 1922 (“History of the UNO Alumni Association”). In 1935, she represented the OU Alumni Association on the committee that helped establish the traditions of Ma-ie Day, a Native American-oriented festival celebrating spring and planting season. According to a Gateway article published on September 27, 1994, the suggestion was made to help “emphasize the dignity of the Native Americans” after which the ceremony was named (Walsh, Gateway archives).
Through research, I was able to find evidence of Olga’s birth on June 6, 1898 in Kennard, Nebraska, and her subsequent education at Florence Grade School, Central High School, Omaha University , and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. On a break from school, she met Cecil Strimple, a former soldier who fought in World War I, and the love of Olga’s life. They married in June 1925 and made Omaha their home.
Thor Strimple lives in the home his mother occupied overlooking Hanscom Park. He is one of two sons born to Olga and Cecil Strimple, though his brother, Henry, passed in his twenties. Thor speaks of his mother with a wide smile and he laughs often. He remembers that “mom” was always waiting for the boys when they arrived home from school. For a woman who contributed so much