Office of the President
Message from President Michael T. Benson
Working together toward a common goal
January 1, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:
During our time in Southern Utah, we became acquainted with a prolific painter named Jim Jones. Known as Jimmie to his family and friends, Jones completed over 400 paintings of Zion National Park and over 100 of the Grand Canyon.
My all-time favorite painting was his final project–Point Sublime–which he completed shortly before his death in 2009:
During part of Jimmie’s work as a portrait painter, he lived in San Blas, Mexico. While there he completed a painting of thechurch that provided the inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Bells of San Blas. The last stanza reads:
O Bells of San Blas, in vain
Ye call back the Past again!
The Past is deaf to your prayer;
Out of the shadows of night
The world rolls into light;
It is daybreak everywhere.
This poem means a great deal to me. Longfellow captures how my family and I feel about becoming part of the Chanticleer community. The past is behind us—we must live in the present and build for the future.
There are challenges all around us, to be sure, but it is a new year full of abundant opportunities and endless possibilities. How incredibly fortunate we feel to be joining you at this moment in the university’s historical arc and forward progress.
My primary role as president, I believe, is to support you and your efforts as faculty and staff as we work together toward a common goal: to help our Coastal students be successful and achieve their academic and personal goals. In doing so, we will achieve another goal of continuously improving the value of the Coastal Carolina degree while enhancing the institution’s reputation. Thank you for all you do!
As an historian, I immediately recognize the significant roles of all those who have gone before: the countless faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, donors, elected officials, and community members. We will take what has been put in place through the past decades and do our absolute best to make the university even better. I thank my friend and predecessor, Dr. David DeCenzo—along with his wife Terri—for their years of service and for their support and encouragement.
I welcome the chance to meet each and every one of you. The pandemic has certainly limited the chances to interact in person, but I intend to be out and about around campus and in the community (appropriately masked and socially distanced, of course) as much as possible, meeting as many folks as I can.
Please come by the Singleton Building anytime to say hello and to visit. I sincerely hope you will share your concerns with me—and what aspirations you have for the university. Only through collaboration and working together can we craft a bold and ambitious path forward.
It really is daybreak everywhere. I’m ready to get to work alongside all of you!
Michael T. Benson