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President Benson thanks founding leaders during his remarks to the CCU board of trustees

February 19, 2021

During the Coastal Carolina University board of trustees meeting on Feb. 19, President Michael T. Benson officially addressed the board for the first time since beginning his tenure on Jan. 1, 2021. He emphasized the significance of local revenue sources that help fund capital projects at CCU, a unique advantage for the University.

“As you know, our top source of revenue is tuition and fees. Number two is state legislative appropriations. … Number three is local sources – the Horry County Higher Education Commission, and the penny sales tax. … If you look out our window, you can see the benefit that it has had on this campus. … I want to thank the community’s mothers and fathers who years and years ago had the temerity, the courage, and the foresight to invest in a higher education institution right here in Horry County. And look at what it’s done. … We are now approaching the 75th anniversary of when this place was established [1954] and that is something to be very, very proud of.”

Benson also spoke about the importance of having everyone on campus feel that they are a part of a team. “That is really important; and it’s going to be a main principle that I try to incorporate in everything I do. … We are all part of a living organization that is moving forward.”

Brant Branham, the state legislative liaison for CCU, shared with the board that while the University’s fall enrollment was down approximately 3.0%, it was in a much better place compared to the average enrollment decline of 13% among the state’s higher education institutions. Branham said: “That speaks volumes and recognizes the trust students and their families put into how we have gone about our business in this completely unusual environment that no one has ever seen before.”

The board took action to finalize the details of President Benson’s compensation package. It also approved a motion to conduct an external assessment of the University’s advancement area. CCU plans to partner with BWF consulting firm to assess fundraising programs and capacity, and develop recommendations for the area’s future.

In other action, the board approved the renewal of six, one-year leases (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022) with the Coastal Educational Foundation: an athletic parcel, approximately 25.89 acres; a University Housing parcel, approximately 16.66 acres; Wheelwright Auditorium/University Blvd., approximately 7.97 acres; an Academic Core parcel, approximately 22.16 acres; the soccer field and surrounding area, approximately 23 acres; and the parking lot area and greenspace located on University Blvd. between Baxley Hall and Highway 501. The board also approved the renewal of a one-year lease (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022) with the Horry County Higher Education Commission of the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies.

In preparation for the board of trustees’ election of officers, trustee Sherry Johnson was selected to serve as chair of the nominating committee and will be joined by trustees Oran Smith and Patrick Sparks. The election of officers will take place during the May board meeting.