Private Giving Key to new EKU President's Success

Apr 8, 2013

After selecting new president, regents watch video introducing Dr. Michael Benson to EKU.
Credit Charles Compton / WEKU News

Eastern Kentucky University’s next president sees fundraising as a key priority.    Dr. Michael Benson, who’s currently president of Southern Utah University, says private contributions may be the best way to advance a science building under construction at Eastern.

“My first priority really is to see if we can get a donation for our science building and get phase two completed so you’ll hear me talk a lot more about that in the coming months, but we really want to get that phase two out of the ground,” said Benson.

Given dramatic cutbacks in staff at Eastern Kentucky University, its next president understands he must set a positive tone.  Doctor Michael Benson officially begins his duties in August, taking over for retiring President Doug Whitlock.  Eastern must cut spending by ten percent, restructure its organization and develop new priorities.  Benson agrees anxiety among university employees is affecting  morale.

“One thing I did sense when I was there for my campus visit just two weeks ago was that people are uneasy and I want to see if I can allay those fears and sway their concerns and say hey this is what we gotta do, this is how we’re gonna do it and this is how we’re gonna get there,” added Benson.

The University is allowing early retirements and, possibly some involuntary layoffs.  Benson comes to Eastern from Southern Utah University where’s he’s served as president since 2006.