Olene Walker

Lived:November 15, 1930—November 28, 2015 (aged 85)
Career:Governor of Utah, 2003-2005
Lieutenant Governor of Utah, 1993-2003
Community development director for Utah, 1989-1992
Utah state representative, 1981-1989
Education:B.A., Brigham Young University
M.A., Stanford University
Ph.D., University of Utah

Olene Walker served as Utah’s governor from November 2003 to January 2005, the state's first female governor.

Walker was born in Ogden, Utah, on November 15, 1930. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University in 1953, her master’s degree in political science from Stanford University in 1954, and her doctorate in education administration from the University of Utah in 1981. From 1970-1973, Walker was an education consultant for the U.S. Department of Education and from 1974-1979, she was director of the Salt Lake City School District Volunteer Program. She founded the Salt Lake Education Foundation in 1980 and was its director from 1980-1989. Walker also served as vice president of Country Crisp Foods from 1969-1992.

Walker served as a representative in the Utah state legislature from 1981-1989, including a term as majority whip. From 1989-1992, Walker served as community development director for the state of Utah. She then served as lieutenant governor of Utah from 1993-2003, when she was sworn in as governor after Governor Leavitt resigned to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Walker died on November 28, 2015.


Carrocaburu, L. (n.d.). Olene S. Walker Biography. Retrieved on July 20, 2020, from https://www.weber.edu/walkerinstitute/biography.html.

National Governors Association. (n.d.). Gov. Olene Smith Walker. Retrieved on July 20, 2020, from https://www.nga.org/governor/olene-smith-walker.

Olene Walker.. Retrieved on July 20, 2020, from https://utahstatecapitol.utah.gov/explore/capitol-art/governors/olene-walker.