CEDAR CITY – In response to the news that Southern Utah University President Michael T. Benson has been named as the 12th president of Eastern Kentucky University, Chair of the Utah State Board of Regents Bonnie Jean Beesley said:
“Michael Benson has had a significant impact on higher education in Utah over the past 12 years as president of two of our institutions — Snow College and then Southern Utah University. I am confident he will be equally influential at Eastern Kentucky University. It has been a real pleasure to get to know him both personally and professionally, and I wish him well in this next phase of his career and feel confident that his leadership will take EKU to the next level of academic excellence.”
Utah Commissioner of Higher Education David L. Buhler said, “On behalf of the Utah System of Higher Education, I congratulate President Benson on this appointment and Eastern Kentucky University for selecting him. Mike helped shape both Snow College and Southern Utah University for the future. Personally, I have enjoyed working with Mike going back to his days as a special assistant to the president at the University of Utah, and wish him and Debi and their family well as they embark on this new adventure.”
During his tenure at SUU, Benson has overseen the development and implementation of the school’s largest and most ambitious comprehensive campaign, The Future is Rising. More than $85 million of the $100 million goal has already been raised or pledged. In March of this year, Benson announced the largest gift in SUU’s history – $6 million – for the construction of a new arts center which will further establish SUU as a regional arts destination. That news came on the heels of a $4 million gift to establish a scholarship and research endowment within the College of Science and Engineering. During his five years at Snow, Benson helped raise more money than in the previous 117 years of the institution’s history combined.
In the next few weeks, the Board of Regents will appoint a search committee and commence a vigorous search for a new SUU president; an interim president will also be named.
Submitted by: Utah State Board of Regents