Mindy Benson serves as the president of Southern Utah University where she prioritizes the needs of faculty, staff, and students, mental health resources, and campus culture. Benson also focuses on strengthening community and University partnerships and led one of SUU’s most successful legislative sessions in recent history as interim president in 2021-2022.
Prior to her appointment as president, Benson served as Vice President of Alumni and Community Relations at SUU for eight years. In that role, Benson built a new division for community outreach and many of the public-facing entities of the University including Alumni Relations, Regional Services, the Utah Center for Rural Health, Business Resource Center and Small Business Development Center, the Southern Utah Museum of Art, and the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games. She has advanced through a variety of positions at SUU including Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Director of Student Life and Leadership. Along with her leadership responsibilities, Benson has also taught courses on campus for 14 years, in the departments of Communication, and Hotel, Resort, and Hospitality Management.
Benson has played a pivotal role in many community outreach efforts, including expanding workforce development, job creation, economic opportunities, increasing community and alumni engagement, and overseeing major campus and community special events. Her primary focus at SUU has been to strengthen ties with institutional stakeholders and create deep and lasting relationships with community members and leaders throughout the region and state. These efforts have led to expanded engagement of alumni, donors, and friends, as well as dramatically increased university resources through gifts and grants.
In addition to her work at SUU, Benson is a professional event consultant and planner throughout the nation, with experience producing hundreds of high-level productions, including concerts, events, political conventions, gubernatorial and U.S. presidential inaugurations.
Mindy is a Cedar City native, with ties to southern Utah and SUU that go back generations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Master of Arts in Professional Communication from SUU.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (19)
Higher Education Administration
Outreach in Rural Communities
History of Southern Utah University
Event Planning, University Commencement
Event Planning Curriculum
Event Management & Production
Event Planning, Presidential Inaugurations
Event Planning, Concerts
Alumni Relations in Higher Education
Higher Education Community Patnerships
Southern Utah University: B.S., Zoology
Southern Utah University: M.A., Communication
- Rocky Vista Executive Advisory Council
- Cedar City Historic Downtown Economic Development Committee
- Bryce Canyon National History Association Board
- SUU’s Community Advisory Board
Media Appearances (7)
From the SUU Alumni Magazine: Bright Future for SUU
Southern Utah University online
When Mindy Benson was selected to serve as interim president of Southern Utah University in the summer of 2021, it may have been a surprise to some alumni, but it was by no means a case of an unknown quantity, for not only was she well regarded and appreciated by her fellow graduates, she very well may have been the most broadly known among them.
Mindy Benson chosen to lead SUU as its 17th president
Deseret News online
A month after Scott Wyatt stepped down as president of Southern Utah University to lead online education for the Utah System of Higher Education, the university named Mindy Benson as interim president, making her the first woman to hold that title at the Cedar City school. That moment came full circle Friday, a year later for Benson, as she was appointed as the university’s 17th president after what school officials described as an extensive national search.
SUU's New Interim President will Become the First Woman to Hold the Title
Deseret News online
The Utah System of Higher Education announced its choice for Southern Utah University's interim president, who will become the first woman to serve in that role at the school. Mindy Benson, current vice president of alumni and community relations for the university, will serve as president until the search for a new president concludes, which leaders anticipate will happen by spring of 2022.
SUU History day; a faith-promoting founding and a symbol of community spirit
St George News online
To Vice President for Alumni and Community Relations Mindy Benson, the Branch Agricultural College (BAC) was a center of culture and education, not only for Cedar City and Iron County, but also for the surrounding communities.
Looking back at the origin of SUU 120 years later
A popular statue on campus honors “Old Sorrel” and the men that made the trip that saved the university. Mindy Benson, SUU vice president, alumni and community relations, believes that story, more than a century later, is a perfect example of the relationship between the small school and the town of a little more than 30,000.
SUU bringing concerts back to Festival City
The Spectrum online
“The concert industry as a whole changed over the last decade and with the changes people just weren’t seeing concerts,” said Benson. “But President Scott Wyatt and many others working on the projects realized both the campus and community life could use a boost.”
$48,000 Scholarships to Families of SUU Alumni
LDS Living online
Southern Utah University, in Cedar City, Utah, is prepared to gift families of out-of-state alumni $48,000 in scholarship to pass on their Thunderbird legacy to the next generation. “We are thrilled to offer this as a benefit to all SUU students who have earned an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree at the University,” said Alumni Relations Executive Director Mindy Benson. “This really adds value to an SUU diploma, and our alumni are the best ambassadors for our school already, so we hope they take advantage of this great opportunity.”
Southern Utah University honors owners of Ruby’s Inn with Distinguished Service AwardSt George News
“Southern Utah University is proud to recognize the Syrett family for its uncommon warmth and hospitality in welcoming people from all over the world to Garfield County and Bryce Canyon,” Mindy Benson, vice president of alumni and community relations, said. “The Syrett family and SUU share a common link as each was built by courageous and hardworking pioneers who expand the horizons of others and have succeeded in the face of daunting barriers.”
Event Planning: Writing and Teaching the First Event Curriculum at Southern Utah UniversitySUU Communication Department
This project examines how an Event Planning Curriculum was designed, written and taught for the first Event Planning course at Southern Utah University. Event Planning is becoming a growing field within the study of Communications. This course was designed so students could have the basic event planning skill they would need to enter the work force and be considered for an event job.
COMM 4600 Event Planning
Discussion of contemporary communication topics varying by semester.
HRHM 4700 Event Planning
Specialized topics in Hospitality Management for students to extend beyond core curriculum.
COMM 6240 Event Management Internship
Students intern with professor and plan an event during the school year.