Described by Haverford Board Chair Howard Lutnick '83 as “a gifted scholar and teacher and an extraordinarily effective academic leader,” Dr. Benston has played a central role in the development and implementation of Haverford’s current strategic plan, including academic facilities renovations, new commitments to access and affordability, and targeted initiatives around technology and students’ ethical engagement. Added Board Co-Vice-Chair Dana Ladden ’84, “Kim is deeply committed to the values at Haverford’s core. He has played a significant role in sustaining the College’s academic excellence, and he shares our determination to ensure that Haverford remains affordable for all qualified students.” In his three years as provost, Dr. Benston has overseen the hiring of sixteen new faculty, fifteen of whom are women and/or people of color.
“Haverford College is a place remarkable for its intellectual vitality, ethical seriousness, and, above all, the generous spirit of its people. I am honored and excited by this opportunity to serve the College in a new way,” said Benston. “I look forward eagerly to collaborating with faculty, students, staff, alumni/ae, the Board, and other members of the Haverford community, as well as with our Trico colleagues, in the ongoing work of strengthening our educational mission and shared values, sustaining the momentum of the Lives That Speak campaign, and implementing the Plan for 2020.”
A renowned scholar whose interests include modern drama, African-American literature and culture studies, the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, performance studies, photographic history and theory, and critical animal studies, Benston has been a member of the Haverford faculty since 1984. Before becoming provost, Dr. Benston chaired the English Department, served as Director of Africana Studies, and served two terms as director of the Hurford Center for Arts & Humanities. A celebrated teacher, he received the Lindback Foundation Teaching Award at Haverford. Prior to that, he taught at Yale University, where he also earned his B.A. (1974), M.A. (1977), M. Phil. (1978) and PhD. (1980).
“President Weiss leaves us with a strategic plan under full steam, a financial base that will sustain our ambitions, a creative and effective leadership team, and renewed focus and energy,” concluded Lutnick. “Kim Benston is the right leader to assure that we achieve our goals and seize new opportunities as they appear.” Dr. Benston will begin a two-year term on July 1, 2015.