On August 1, 2013 Michael Benson began his term as president.
Described as EKU’s “next great, visionary leader,” Dr. Benson maintains a distinguished record of success as an innovative executive who is well-recognized and respected among peers and colleagues. He has devoted himself to students and their academic success, is an accomplished communicator and scholar committed to diversity and expanding global academic opportunities, and is a proven financial manager who is focused on developing and sustaining political and external support for EKU.
Born in Salt Lake City and raised in Texas, Dr. Benson has nearly 20 years of administrative experience in higher education, over a decade of which has been spent as an institutional president.
Prior to his chief executive role at EKU, he was the 15th President of Southern Utah University where he successfully directed the development and implementation of SUU’s largest and most ambitious comprehensive campaign, the $100 million “Future is Rising Campaign.”
Named by Utah Business magazine in 2011 as among the “100 Most Influential People in Utah,” Dr. Benson has worked and studied abroad for seven years in Italy, England and Israel. He is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post as a featured blogger on higher education issues. His book, Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel (Praeger 1997) has been hailed as a landmark work in the area of American foreign policy and the U.S. presidency.
He completed his doctorate in modern Middle Eastern history from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College) where he was a recipient of the Oxford Graduate Overseas Fellowship and a Rotary Foundation Scholarship. He also earned a master’s degree cum laude from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in non-profit administration, and a B.A. cum laude from Brigham Young University with a major in political science and double minor in English and history.