*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.
In our blog series finale of “Passing the Torch”, upon the retirement of USI’s second president, Dr. H. Ray Hoops, the naming of USI’s third president was in order. Finally, after an intense search for the next president, the USI Board of Trustees named then-Provost Dr. Linda Bennett became the first women to serve as president of USI (Grundhoeffer, 2008).
Dr. Bennett started her academic career at the University of Cincinnati, receiving her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Cincinnati. Her career began at Wittenburg University (1983-1996) as a professor in political science, then at Northern Kentucky University (1996-1999) as chair and professor of political science, and Appalachian State University (1999-2003) as a college dean. Dr. Bennett arrived at USI in 2003 and served as provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs (Office of the President, 2018).
Dr. Bennett’s inauguration occurred on October 15, 2009. With former presidents, Dr. David L. Rice and Dr. H. Ray Hoops in attendance (Palmer, 2009). During her tenure, Bennett established USI’s first strategic plan, creation of new academic programs, celebrated USI’s 50th anniversary, and many more accomplishments. Dr. Bennett announced her retirement in August 2017 stating, “… I believe it is a good time to think about the next chapter of my life. The University of Southern Indiana is well-positioned for a transition, and this is the right time” (Farless, 2017).
Dr. Rice, Dr. Hoops, and Dr. Bennett have left their mark on USI through creation of new academic programs, buildings, and so many more achievements. They have done an incredible job of shaping and leading USI. If USI had a version of “Mt. Rushmore”, they all would be on it.
Available at the University Archives and Special Collections, the President’s Office collection (UA 001) is available. If you are interested in viewing the collection, contact the University Archives and Special Collections via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farless, J. (2017). USI president Linda L. M. Bennett announces retirement. Retrieved from https://www.usi.edu/news/releases/2017/08/usi-president-linda-l-m-bennett-announces-retirement/
Grundhoeffer, S. (2009, February 9). Bennett named USI’s third president. The Shield, p. 1.
Office of the president, USI. (2018). Former presidents. Retrieved from https://www.usi.edu/president/former-presidents/
Palmer, D. (2009, October 9). USI will celebrate presidential inauguration with week full of events. The Shield, p. 1, 3.