After a two-hour, closed-door meeting, regents at Eastern Kentucky University today named a new president. Dr. Michael Benson will leave the top job at Southern Utah University and take over at EKU. Board of Regents Chairman Craig Turner is “delighted” with Benson’s selection.
“I think his even-keeled demeanor, as we put it, will be accepted very easily here on campus, and we think he’s got the leadership qualities that we’re looking for,” said Turner.
Described as a people-person and a strong fundraiser, Benson comes to an institution that’s undergoing deep budget cuts, staff reductions and declining enrollment. Turner is confident the new president can move Eastern forward.
“He realizes that he has a lot of challenges ahead. We’ve talked in detail about his approach to the budget, his interest and commitment to be inclusive in it and collaborative in that nature of it. So I think that we’ll find him working very well with everybody that’s affected by the budget,” said Turner.
Benson will move to Richmond from Southern Utah University, where he’s now president. Turner expects the new president to provide immediate assistance, but he won’t officially take office until August.
“He’s well aware that he’ll have to make tough decisions, which is obviously part of this process,” said Turner.
Benson should visit the Richmond campus within the next ten-days, and will probably assume his new duties in early August. Benson, who will be EKU’s 12th president, replaces President Doug Whitlock, who’s retiring.