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CCU announces President Benson’s election to ODK board of trustees, new home for campus circle

April 29, 2021
CCU President Michael T. Benson elected to O?K board of trustees.

Coastal Carolina University President Michael T. Benson has been elected to the board of trustees of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa Society and Educational Foundation Inc. He will serve a three-year term as an at-large trustee beginning July 1, 2021.

Tara S. Singer, president and chief executive officer of ODK, shared the organization’s excitement surrounding Benson’s appointment.

“Dr. Benson is a noted scholar, academic administrator, and community leader,” Singer said. “He is the embodiment of all that our leadership society stands for and values. I look forward to working with him in this capacity.”

Benson is a charter member of the ODK circle (chapter) at Southern Utah University and was instrumental in establishing the circle at Eastern Kentucky University prior to his appointment at CCU. He looks forward to serving the organization in his new role.

“I am honored by this invitation to join the ODK board of trustees, as I am a firm believer in its mission and values and have seen firsthand the positive impact its activities have on students, faculty, staff, and communities,” Benson said. “I can’t wait to get started and am eager to help any way I can moving forward.”

Benson earned his bachelor’s degree cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1990 with a major in political science and double minors in English and history. He completed his doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College) in 1995, where he was a Rotary Foundation Scholar and recipient of the Oxford Graduate Overseas Fellowship. He also earned a master’s degree cum laude in nonprofit administration in 2011 from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Father Theodore Hesburgh Founder’s Award. Benson will graduate with a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University in August 2021.

Omicron Delta Kappa Society was founded in Lexington, Va., on Dec. 3, 1914, to recognize and encourage leadership at the collegiate level. The organization’s circle at CCU was chartered in 1980 and will be housed within the HTC Honors College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies beginning in Fall 2021.

“The HTC Honors College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies is excited to become the new home of Coastal Carolina’s ODK Circle,” said Sara Hottinger, dean of the HTC Honors College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. “With President Benson newly elected to the ODK board of trustees, I am confident that the partnership between ODK and the HTC Honors College at CCU will thrive.

“Omicron Delta Kappa champions the ideals of scholarship, service, integrity, character, and fellowship, which aligns well with our college’s mission to create opportunities for CCU students to embrace challenges, pursue personal growth, and develop their intellectual curiosity and autonomy.”

Hottinger welcomes the continuation of the ODK tradition on campus with new leadership and student members. She says the next cohort of students will be inducted in Fall 2021. The faculty advisor for CCU’s ODK campus circle will be Victoria DePalma, assistant professor in the HTC Honors College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and the circle coordinator will be Celsa Noce, program assistant for the Honors program.

ODK’s mission is to honor and develop leaders; encourage collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and alumni; and promote ODK’s ideals of collaboration, inclusivity, integrity, scholarship, and service on college and university campuses throughout North America.