Olivia Futch received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education in 1927 from Florida State College for Women. She was awarded her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from Byrn Mawr College in 1934. Futch taught in several secondary schools and was Head of the Education Department at St. Mary’s College in Kansas from 1935 - 1938 before coming to Furman University in 1938 as an Assistant Professor. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1944, full Professor in 1948, and served as Head of the Education Department from 1945 – 1950. In June 1951, Futch was elected to succeed Elizabeth Lake Jones as Dean of the Woman’s College. The Dean of the Woman’s College title changed to Dean of Women in 1961 when the Woman’s College and Furman University united on one campus. Once the Greenville Woman’s College joined with Furman University on the same campus, she became Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
Futch was also very active in educational committees outside of the university. She was President of South Carolina College Teachers of Education for three years, was part of the steering committee for the South Carolina Conference on Education, was on the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools’ Commission on Research and Service, and was President of the Furman Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Dr. Futch participated in many committees that focused on women educators, as well. She served as the South Carolina state President of the American Association of University Women, the President of the South Carolina Conference on the Status of Women, and as a Board of Trustees member of the Greenville Business and Professional Women’s Club.
After years of service to Furman, she retired as Dean in 1965 but continued to teach in the Education Department until 1971. Marguerite Chiles became the next Dean of Women in the fall of 1965.