President Michael T. Benson

Dear University Community:

There have been some troubling reports of discrimination and harassment in our larger community of Madison County recently. Combined with world events of recent days, this has understandably raised anxieties not just locally, but around the globe. Such senseless tragedies have a way of bringing out the best in people and, unfortunately sometimes, the worst. While we have not received any reports that this kind of inexcusable behavior has occurred on our campuses, we recognize we are part of a larger community. We are also reminded that our Eastern Kentucky University family is just that – a family. But this is not just any ordinary family. It is one that draws its strength from its rich diversity: a tapestry woven with threads of different races, ethnicities, religious faiths, sexual orientation and belief systems. It’s a campus where the values of inclusion and equality aren’t just empty words, but a way of life, and part of our institutional DNA.

When we are at our best, this campus is a welcoming environment where all students and employees feel a sense of belonging and security. This shared feeling is reinforced by the knowledge that we are all on this journey together, with the same hopes and dreams, the same worries and fears. Think back to what we’ve been through together just this past year and how the entire campus community came together repeatedly as one family – EKUStrong, EKUnited. Still, it bears repeating every so often that, even though we take freedom of speech seriously, targeting or harassing any member of our campus community based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any of our other differences is an affront to us all – just as it is in any family.

Any of us who are either the victim of or a witness to any such threats or harassment is morally obliged to promptly report such activity to the proper authorities. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. To report any criminal or suspicious activity on campus call EKU Police at 859-622-1111. Students and employees can also report complaints of discrimination or harassment to the Office of Equity and Inclusion at 859-622-8020. We will continue to support and care for each other. That is what strong families do.

Thank you for your continued commitment to make EKU the best possible – and the most inviting – place it can be.

Yours sincerely,

Michael T. Benson


 Dr. Benson is the 13th 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.

The Public University: Recalling Higher Education’s Democratic Purpose

The modern university has been called, “a series of separate schools and departments held together by a central heating system,” and, in a play on this line, “a series of individual faculty entrepreneurs held together by a common grievance over parking.”1 Whether parking, heating, or, more probable today, WiFi, these tongue-in-cheek caricatures belie a more serious worry that higher education is rudderless, lacking a unifying raison d’etre...

                                                                                      by Michael T. Benson and Hal R. Boyd 


Vision 2020 Community Forum

Eastern Kentucky University updated the community and campus about the many ongoing and planned campus revitalization initiatives in a Town and Gown Vision 2020 Forum Tuesday evening, June 30, 6-8 p.m. at the EKU Center for the Arts. Dr. Benson was joined on the Center’s main stage by members of the President's Council, City, and County officials. The discussion explored ways that the University and City can partner together for mutual benefits.

The President’s remarks included a multimedia presentation that details many of the University’s projects and plans.

Watch the video of the Town and Gown Vision 2020 Forum

See the Community Forum Presentation

Community Forum Presentation Part 1

Community Forum Presentation Part 2

Community Forum Presentation Part 3

A Graduation Unlike Any Other

Spring ushers in the season of college commencements. These societal rituals -- with their sartorial splendor and lofty speeches -- commemorate the sacrifice of students to improve their minds and sharpen their skills before fully entering the rigors of civil society and their chosen fields. They are unequivocal causes for celebration.
Read more at the Huffington Post

University president responds brilliantly to snowed in student’s Twitter challenge

A snowed in student convinced the president of his university to shovel his driveway after challenging him on Twitter. Devan Dannelly, a student at Eastern Kentucky University, said he would attend class if president Michael Benson cleared snow from outside his house. Surprisingly, Dr Benson accepted the student’s challenge and shared a photo of his efforts on Twitter.
Read more at The Telegraph

One of the Greats is Gone

Every so often, we meet people in life who make an indelible impression upon us and teach us lessons we might not otherwise learn. I have been blessed by such a relationship with a man whom I admired from afar -- but really did not know -- until two friends undertook a project which would change both of their lives forever... and many others as well. Billy Casper was one of the greatest golfers of his generation -- he won 51 times on the PGA Tour and secured three Major championships -- but was even more incredible as a human being and humanitarian.
Read more at the Huffington Post

President Benson on WKYT Newsmakers

Interview with Bill Bryant, WKYT
View Video

2015: The Year of No Little Plans

At the end of October, I had the privilege of being inaugurated as the twelfth president of Eastern Kentucky University. It was a memorable day for my family and me, and we were very appreciative for all who helped plan the ceremony and grateful to all who attended.

As a basis for my presentation, I borrowed the immortal words of one of America's truly great figures of the 19th and 20th centuries: Daniel H. Burnham. Renowned architect, shaper of public policy, crafter of city planning, dreamer of big dreams.
Read more at the Huffington Post

Lives of Curiosity and Consequences

Just north up the interstate from where we live in Kentucky is the birthplace of aviation. That two brothers, bicycle makers and mechanics, from Dayton, Ohio, forever transformed the manner in which we now navigate the world is nothing short of miraculous.
Read more at the Huffington Post

President Benson on WKYT Newsmakers

Bill Bryant talks to new EKU President Michael T. Benson.
View Video

President Benson on "Snow Days" etc.

President Michael Benson joins us to discuss how the university handles "snow days," terroristic threats and other matters.
Listen to the Interview at WEKU 88.9

President Michael Benson takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Members of the golf teams had the honor of dumping ice water on the president. Taking the challenge along with Benson are Janna Vice, provost, Barry Poynter, vice president for finance and administration, Scott Cason, vice president for marketing and communications, Matt Roan, special assistant to the president, and David McFaddin, executive director of government relations and regional stewardship.

Benson challenged Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and University of Louisville President James Ramsey to also take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

View Video