Southern Utah University President Michael Benson will start a new job next school year as president at Eastern Kentucky University, the schools announced Friday.
"We’re excited, we’ve got kind of mixed emotions," said Benson, who has served as president since 2007. "Anytime an opportunity like this comes up, you say goodbye to a lot of friends."
Benson worked to carve out a niche for SUU as a public liberal arts school, strengthening its ties to the Utah Shakespeare Festival as well as raising admission standards and hiring new faculty.
The Cedar City institution also fulfilled a 20-year sports goal by joining the Big Sky Conference, and Benson brought more money to the school, securing $85 million of a $100 million fundraising campaign goal. SUU announced the largest gift in the school’s history, a $6 million donation from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation for an arts center, earlier this month.