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Snow's Horne School of Music is Beneficiary of Administrator's Passion

EPHRAIM, Utah—March 9, 2006—The Utah Music Educators Association recently announced that Snow College President Michael Benson has been named the 2005 Outstanding Administrator. The award is given annually to an administrator working to improve Utah’s musical culture.

“I’m honored by this award but also realize that many other people are largely responsible for the success of the various music programs at Snow College,” stated Benson. “I’m just happy to help in any way I can.”

Pres. Benson’s commitment is readily evident in what has been accomplished at Snow’s Horne School of Music during his tenure. In his first few months as president, Benson raised over $2 million to complete the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts and later secured funding to make Snow an “All-Steinway” school. In 2005, Benson and the dean of performing arts at Snow, Vance Larsen, formalized a partnership with The Juilliard School of Music in New York to conduct annual workshops in Ephraim for high school and college music students.

Perhaps most important, Benson has raised over $400,000 for music scholarships and has seen declared music majors at Snow double over the past few years. Patrons of the arts in Central Utah have even seen Benson perform. He soloed on the piano with Snow’s Jazz ensemble at the dedication of the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts in 2003.

“Music has enriched my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe,” claims Benson. “I am so grateful to those teachers who continue to impact the lives of people throughout our state by means of music education.”

While his formal education is in the areas of political science and Middle Eastern history, one of Dr. Benson’s true loves is music. Raised in a very musical family - Benson is the youngest of six children all of whom are proficient on at least one instrument. Benson’s mother, Lela, insisted that he begin piano studies at age five and he still plays today on a Steinway piano donated to the president’s home at Snow College by the Eccles Foundation.

Benson remembers a time during his youth when his mother kept four Steinway pianos under one roof. “Our family rule was that I only had to practice on the days I wanted to eat,” states President Benson. “I really have my mother and my piano teachers to thank for the love of music they instilled in me at a very early age.”