CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Dr. Michael Benson, the new president of Coastal Carolina University, has big plans for the growing school.
“They’ve accomplished a great deal since 1954, but we want to build on that foundation and take it to the next level,” Benson said.
The former Eastern Kentucky University President will officially take over the role on January 2.
“We’re really attracted to, as I say, to the runway ahead of us,” he said.
CCU’s potential is what Benson said drew him and his family to Horry County.
“We love the area, we love the people and we love the pace of life,” he said.
Benson has served nearly 20 years as a university and college president.
His focus right now is getting to know the community, and eventually securing state and local funding for the university.
“At Eastern Kentucky we were able to raise records amounts of money and make capital improvements they’ve never seen before in the history of the institution,” Benson said.
However, coming in to lead a university during a pandemic is an added challenge.
Since June, the university has reported 306 cumulative cases of COVID-19.
“Students are craving to be back on campus, with their peers, with full-time faculty in a safe environment so while they’re facing financial challenges like everybody, it’s not a bad or as acute as they thought,” he said.
Providing students with as opportunities as possible to succeed is what it’s all about Benson said.
“My job as president is to come here and make sure that they’re given what is promised and they have a great experience here at CCU,” he said. “I’d say, ‘Chants Up.’”
Benson replaces Dr. David DeCenzo, who’s served as CCU’s president since 2007.