President, Professor of History
Michael Benson is president and professor of history at Coastal Carolina University. His previous administrative posts include special assistant to the president and secretary to the University of Utah, and president of Snow College (2001-2006), Southern Utah University (2007-2013), and Eastern Kentucky University (2013-2020). He has held faculty appointments at the University of Utah, the University of Notre Dame, and Johns Hopkins University and has taught at each institution where he served as president.
Michael earned his doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College) where he was a Rotary Foundation Scholar and recipient of the Oxford Overseas Graduate Fellowship. His books include Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel (Praeger, 1997) and College for the Commonwealth: A Case of Higher Education in American Democracy (with Hal Boyd, University Press of Kentucky, 2017). His latest book, Gilman at Hopkins: The Birth of the Modern American Research University, will be released in 2022 by Johns Hopkins University Press.
University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College) – D.Phil. in modern history (1995)
The Johns Hopkins University – M.L.A. in liberal arts (2021)
University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business) – M.N.A. in non-profit administration (2011) cum laude
Brigham Young University – B.A. in political science (1990) cum laude
American history, Middle Eastern history, World War I history, U.S. presidential history, American higher education history.
U.S. presidential history and American higher education history.
His older brother, Steve Benson, won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning while at The Arizona Republic.
In his 20s, Michael lived nearly 7 years overseas in Italy, England, and Israel. He is fluent in Italian but did not fare as well in his attempts to learn Arabic and Hebrew.
He is the father of five children: Emma, Samuel, Truman, Tatum, and Talmage. Michael loves to travel and has been to all 50 states and visited five of the world’s seven continents.
Michael played basketball at Brigham Young University and at Oxford where he earned a “blue” and was teammates with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. He’s also run a marathon in 2 hours and 41 minutes and finished in the top 15% of all registered runners in the 1984 Boston Marathon, where he was one of only 19 teenagers from across the world to participate.