President Michael T. Benson

Dr. Michael T. Benson is the 12th President of Eastern Kentucky University, a position he assumed on August 1, 2013.  

Throughout his twenty-year career in public higher education, Michael has devoted himself to students and their academic success.  He 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, Michael 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.

Prior to his chief executive role at EKU, Michael 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.”  

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 has also served as a consulting historian and essayist for both the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. 

An accomplished athlete, Michael has run a marathon in 2 hours and 41 minutes, played collegiate basketball at both Brigham Young and Oxford, and maintains an 8 handicap in his favorite sport – golf.  

Most importantly, Dr. Benson and his wife Debi (Woods) are the parents of three young children: Truman (7), Tatum (6), and Talmage (3). He is also the father of Emma (17) and Samuel (15).