In the summer of 2017, after serving 20 years as president at USF, Mark Benedetto will retire leaving USF to search for their 23rd president. Although some consider his 20-year service short, Benedetto has accomplished a great deal in his time here.
The campus itself has expanded a great deal with the construction of the Cleveland center, McDonald center project, and the sports complex on 69th and Cliff. Along with the expansion of the campus came a growing student body.
“We’ve grown in enrollment. I think our enrollment has almost tripled during that time and we’ve doubled our faculty, raised a lot of money. We’ve had 15 campus construction projects,” says Benedetto.
Benedetto is also responsible for starting the nursing program recently at USF. The nursing program has graduated just fewer than 300 students in five years. Those students are helping fill a critical need that currently exists in the city and region according to Benedetto.
Another important feature at USF is Culture For Service. Although this idea was in place before Benedetto arrive, he has kept it in focus during his presidency.
“Being a Christ centered campus that really does find a way to integrate the lord’s teachings into all that we are doing. And when you add the service component to that we have the greatest students in the world,” says Benedetto.
After his retirement, Benedetto plans on traveling and spending time with family.
“We have one home in Columbia, Missouri where my daughter lives and we have a home in Sioux Falls. So I see us living in both places and then traveling extensively. But my son and daughter-in-law live here in town with my two granddaughters. So I’m not going to go far from Sioux Falls,” says Benedetto.
The search committee for the next president will consist of 16 members; five faculty, five staff members, three trustees, and two students. While having two students on the selection committee may seem abnormal, Benedetto encourages student involvement in the selection process.
Benedetto says, “the student vote, when they finally vote to find out who the next president is going to be just as important as the chair of the business school or the chair of the fine arts department.”
“This was my time, I had 20 years; now it’s time for the next person to come in and lead,” says Benedetto.
Story by Jessica Justin