Michael Benson

President, Costal Carolina University

Michael T. Benson is president and professor of history at Coastal Carolina University. A thirty-year veteran of various positions in public higher education, Michael has served as president of four different universities in Utah, Kentucky, and South Carolina. He spent 2020 as a Visiting Professor in the Department of the History of Science and Technology at Johns Hopkins University. 

Michael earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in non-profit administration from the Mendoza College of Business at University of Notre Dame, and a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rotary Foundation Scholar and earned a full blue as player/coach of the Oxford University basketball team. He also completed a master’s degree in liberal arts from Johns Hopkins University. A widely-published author, his books include Daniel Coit Gilman and the Birth of the American Research University, released in 2022 by Johns Hopkins University Press. His biography of Gilman was recently named to the list of Best Higher Education Books of 2023 by Forbes magazine.  

Benson has taught courses in history, political science, public policy, and international relations at each institution where he has served as president, as well as holding adjunct faculty appointments at Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and the University of Notre Dame. Michael’s volunteer work has included service on the Presidents’ Council of the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) and chair of the NCAA Honors Committee. Benson is also the FBS presidential representative on the NCAA Board of Governors Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity, a 13-person association-wide committee. He is a member of the board of directors of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and also serves on the executive committee of the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA).   

In November 2022, Michael was appointed to the Committee on International Education for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). He is fluent in spoken and written Italian and has lived in Italy, England, and the Middle East for over six years. Michael and his family live in Myrtle Beach.