Mindy Benson is the 17th President of Southern Utah University

On July 15th, the Utah Board of Higher Education and the Southern Utah University Board of Trustees announced that Mindy Benson is SUU’s 17th University President. Benson is now also the school’s first female president.

The announcement was given at the Great Hall on Friday afternoon and comes after an extensive national search. On July 7th, Mindy Benson, Mablene Krueger and Alan Utter were declared finalists, and the three candidates participated in an open forum on July 13th.

“To our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community: you have been an integral part of this process,” said Jodi Hart-Wilson, newly elected Chair of the SUU Board of Trustees. “We were delighted by your participation during this process. It is a great day to be a part of the T-Bird community, and we welcome this next chapter.”

Mindy Benson has served as Interim President of SUU for exactly one year as of the announcement. In that role, Benson prioritized strengthening community and university partnerships and led one of the most successful legislative sessions in SUU’s recent history. 

When the movement was made to appoint Benson as University President, the room immediately erupted with cheers. The decision was unanimous.

Benson then took to the stage to address the crowd, thanking them for their love and support. “I am thrilled to remove ‘interim’ from my title and serve you in my new capacity as president.”

Benson is a longtime T-Bird, having graduated from SUU with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology in 1994 and a master’s degree in Professional Communication in 2008. Prior to her appointment as interim president, Benson also served as Vice President of Alumni and Community Relations for eight years.

“As I look around this room, I think of the people that have made a difference in my life,” Benson said, listing family members, friends, coworkers and former University President Scott Wyatt. “I know that if I have seen further, it has been by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Newly appointed University President Mindy Benson, surrounded by her family.

Benson also acknowledged her sister, Shelly, who made history as SUU’s first female student body president in 1984. “I don’t think either one of us thought we would have this legacy,” Benson said, “But here we are.”

Finally, Benson acknowledged the students in the crowd.

“You are the soul of who we are and what we do,” Benson said. “My desire is to serve you. I want everyone to be involved. Together, we will create a vision that shapes the next 125 years of this university.”

To learn more or view the recorded livestream announcement, please visit the SUU presidential search website.


Story by Aspen English