Board concludes presidential search: Michael Benson to begin next semester as CCU’s third president


Michael Benson. Photo courtesy of The Office of University Marketing.

It was announced today, Oct. 2, 2020, that the Coastal Carolina Board of Trustees selected Coastal Carolina University’s next president.

Michael T. Benson, D. Phil, will “begin serving as the University’s third president on Jan. 2, 2021,” the email from the Office of University Marketing said.

Benson has had several years of experience in the field of higher education. The Office of University Marketing gave some insight into his background.

“Benson served as the 13th president of Eastern Kentucky University from 2013 to 2020 and was named president emeritus of EKU in December 2019. While at EKU, he held an appointment as Professor of Government,” the email said. “He is currently a visiting professor in the Department of History and Science and Technology in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.”

Before serving as president at EKU, Benson was the 15th president of Southern Utah University.

At SUU, he “helped secure the designation for SUU as the state’s public liberal arts and sciences university; established the Hispanic Center for Academic Excellence, [etc.],” the Office of University Marketing said in an email.

According to the same email, Benson was also president of Snow College in Ephraim, Utah for five years before serving at SUU. Benson also has background as a member on the Council of Presidents of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, on the Presidents’ Trust for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and on the Task Force on University Partnerships of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Benson’s background seems to make others confident in his ability to take over as president of CCU.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Benson and as a Board, we firmly believe his leadership talents and experiences are an excellent match for Coastal Carolina University and the advancement of this dynamic institution,” H. Delan Stevens, vice chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Board’s Presidential Search Committee, said in an email.

Benson looks forward to becoming a part of the CCU community.

“My family and I are ecstatic to be joining Coastal Carolina University,” he said in a CCU press release. “We appreciate the board of trustees entrusting us with this amazing responsibility, and we pledge to do everything we can to build on the solid foundation already in place. There are limitless opportunities ahead. What a great time to be a Chanticleer. We can look forward to getting involved on campus and in the community and to helping our students succeed any way we can.”

The current president, David A. DeCenzo, Ph.D, will not be officially retiring until June 30, 2021. He will remain available through the spring semester to ensure a smooth transition.

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