Despite his rapidly waning time at Southern Utah University, President Michael T. Benson has managed to add one more feather to his cap—and ours—with another outstanding achievement in the world of higher ed.
Benson, who holds a master’s degree in nonprofit administration (MNA) from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, was recently awarded the institution’s Alumni Service Award. This esteemed recognition is given to just two outstanding alumni from all of Notre Dame's ranks each year in commendation of outstanding service. Benson is the first MNA graduate from the Mendoza College of Business to receive the distinguished award.
“I am honored to have received this recognition,” Benson said. “The University of Notre Dame is a very special place which tries very hard to imbue its students and alumni with a commitment to give back through their service.”
And give back, he certainly has. Perhaps the most identifiable contribution Benson has made to the higher education community is his leadership in fundraising and partnership-building efforts, the legacy of which will carry on across SUU's campus long after his tenure ends this summer. Benson’s $100 million The Future is Rising campaign is the most aggressive –and successful—fundraising campaign in the university’s history. To date, the campaign has raised a remarkable sum of $90.1 million.
“I am delighted our efforts at SUU have brought notoriety back to our campus,” Benson said.
While serving as president of Snow College, Benson set a new standard for fundraising. In five years, the institution raised more money than ever before in its 117-year history.
A conscientious steward of education, not only from an administrative standpoint but also from the lectern as a professor, Benson is a worthy recipient of the Mendoza’s Alumni Service Award. He taught a course on public policy at the Mendoza College of Business and has labored to recruit students into the institution’s Master of Non Profit Administration program.
Of Benson, the Mendoza College of Business says, “he is an unabashed recruiter to the program, born out of a deep sense of alignment with the University’s faith mission and an appreciation of the strength of the alumni network.”
One of the youngest university presidents in America, Benson has built an impressive vita in his relatively short career. He served a six-year term as president of Snow College before coming to SUU in 2006 and on August 1 of this year, he will take over as president of Eastern Kentucky University.
In 2011, Benson was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Utah” by Utah Business Magazine.
Benson will be presented with the Alumni Service Award by Notre Dame’s Cincinnati Alumni Chapter in August.