Huntsman Appoints Benson to State Appellate Nomination Committee

Published: May 20, 2009 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Southern Utah University President Michael T. Benson has been appointed by Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman to the state’s Appellate Court Nominating Commission. As a representative on this seven-member panel, Benson will nominate judges to fill vacancies on the Utah Supreme Court and the Utah Court of Appeals. 

Once the Commission reviews judicial candidates for an open Appellate Court position, the Commission’s recommendations are then forwarded to the Governor, who makes the final selection to send to the Utah State Senate for confirmation. 
The Commission is comprised of members from the Utah State Bar and from the general public. Benson, appointed as a public representative, will serve a four-year term on the Nominating Commission, beginning immediately. 

President Benson is very excited to serve the state’s interests in this capacity, stating, “I am honored by this appointment and pledge to do my best for the Appellate Courts and for the State of Utah.” 

According to Josh Reid, an environmental and energy lawyer and former member of the Nominating Committee, “Given his background and interests, and considering that he is not a lawyer himself, Benson’s outside perspective should prove helpful on the committee.” 

Michael T. Benson began his work as President of SUU in 2006. Before accepting this position, he served as president of Snow College, and before that, was special assistant to the president and secretary to the University of Utah, a cabinet-level position on that campus. In all, Benson has 15 years of administrative experience in higher education, with over half of that time spent serving as an institutional president. 

Benson also holds the rank as full professor within SUU’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, and has taught at Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, Snow College and now SUU in the topics of international conflict, theories of international relations, American history, the U.S. Presidency, comparative politics and public administration. 

In addition to directing the strategic and sustainable growth of Southern Utah University, Benson serves in advisory and consulting capacities within political, civic, academic, arts and historical organizations at state, national and international levels. 

In relationship to this most recent appointment to the Appellate Nominating Committee, Benson is also a member of the Advisory Council at the Center for Policy Analysis, a research component of the American Council on Education based in Washington, D.C. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, is a notable historian, and has actively served on advisory boards for financial institutions. 

Benson holds a doctorate degree in modern Middle Eastern history from the University of Oxford and an undergraduate degree in political science, with a minor in English and history, from Brigham Young University. He is currently completing a master's degree in non-profit administration at the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2011.

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