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Pepperdine’s Benton offers talents to national college board

Pepperdine University President and CEO Andrew K. Benton is pictured. Ron Hall/Pepperdine University
Pepperdine’s Benton offers talents to national college board
8:28 am PDT July 14, 2017

Pepperdine University President and CEO Andrew K. Benton, J.D., has been elected to a 19-month term as chair of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. 

Benton, who was NAICU board vice chair, replaces Christopher B. Nelson, president of St. John’s College, who retired on June 21. The NAICU board voted on the transition during their regular spring meeting. Benton will complete the seven months remaining in Nelson’s one-year term before starting his own one-year term.

NAICU board members set the association’s agenda on federal higher education policy; actively encourage support of association priorities and initiatives; and oversee the organization’s financial administration.

“NAICU is most fortunate that Pepperdine University President Andrew Benton has been elected as the next chair of our board of directors,” said NAICU President David L. Warren, Ph.D. “Andy brings 17 years of presidential leadership experience to the NAICU Board chairmanship, including a term as chair of our Accountability Committee. His knowledge of private higher education is unparalleled, and will be of great assistance to the Association. As new opportunities and challenges arise over the next 18 months, the Association will be well positioned for success with our new leadership team.”

“This seems to be an especially important time for all institutions of higher learning to work closely together and, perhaps, especially those in the independent sector,” Benton said. “Our work is noble, aimed at the very future of this nation. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve and I simply cannot imagine finer colleagues with whom to do so.”

Benton has served Pepperdine University for more than 30 years. His Pepperdine career started in 1984 when he joined the Malibu-based university to oversee land-use opportunities. Benton went on to work as the chief of staff for his friend and the university’s sixth president David Davenport. In 1991, he was appointed executive vice president and chief operational officer of the university.

In 2000, the Pepperdine Board of Regents named Benton the university’s seventh president and chief executive officer. The university is rated in the top tier of “best national universities” as reported by U.S. News & World Report, was named one of the trendiest colleges in the country by the Huffington Post, and was cited by Princeton Review as the nation’s “most beautiful campus.”

Benton teaches classes at the university on a regular basis and is highly engaged with student life on campus. His rock-and-roll band, The Mesa Peak Band, has played at numerous events on the campus, including an annual concert held at the end of the school’s New Student Orientation week in Benton’s backyard, which functions as an informal first introduction for new students to Pepperdine’s easygoing president.

A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Benton earned a J.D. from Oklahoma City University’s School of Law and a B.S. in American Studies from Oklahoma Christian University. For 10 years he worked with Oklahoma Christian prior to his move to Pepperdine University. In addition to his work at Pepperdine, he is a member of numerous associations, including the American Council on Education, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities and the American Bar Association. He has written numerous essays concerning the state of higher education in the United States that have appeared in the Huffington Post and elsewhere.