Dr. Michael T. Benson
Benson has served as the 15th President of Southern Utah University since 2006. A Salt Lake City native who grew up in Texas, he has nearly 20 years of administrative experience in higher education, also including the presidency of Snow College.
While at Snow, Benson helped raise more money in his five-year tenure than in all previous 117 years of the institution’s history. Currently, he is leading efforts at Southern Utah University to raise $30 million for the Southern Utah Center for the Arts; more than $28 million of that amount has been raised so far.
He has also directed the development and implementation of SUU’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 December 2012, Dr. Benson announced the largest gift in the university’s history – $5 million – for the construction of a new Shakespeare Theatre. 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 the 2009 Legislative session, Benson was successful in procuring state support for SUU’s Science Center – an expanded undergraduate classroom and laboratory complex totaling nearly $20 million in new construction.
In 2011, Utah Business named Benson one of the “100 Most Influential People in Utah.”
Benson, who has worked and studied abroad for seven years in Italy, England and Israel, 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,” has been hailed as a landmark work in the area of American foreign policy and the U.S. presidency.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in non-profit administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame and a doctoral degree in Middle Eastern history from the University of Oxford (St. Anthony’s College).