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New gift to honor former provost

New gift to honor former provost

Michelle Tedford '94 September 25, 2023
Headshot of Paul Benson
Paul Benson

Nearly a decade ago, George Hanley ’77 had a dream: create a center at UD for the environment. Provost Paul Benson had the same dream — only much bigger. 

Benson envisioned a multidisciplinary institute offering graduate and undergraduate degree programs that would raise the University’s profile by attracting world-class talent and contribute to sustainable innovation on campus and in the community. 

Hanley agreed to more than five times his intended donation, supporting Benson’s vision with $12.5 million to found the Hanley Sustainability Institute. The institute has achieved all that and more. 

“It goes across all disciplines, and it touches the whole university.”

“It goes across all disciplines, and it touches the whole university,” Hanley said.

Benson’s vision and dedication to UD are among the reasons Hanley made his latest gift: $1.18 million to create the Paul H. Benson Professorship, a position within the institute that will be available to faculty in all disciplines. The gift contributes to the University’s comprehensive campaign, We Soar. Benson retired July 1 as professor emeritus and provost emeritus after 38 years at UD.

Hanley, a member of the University’s board of trustees, said he is honoring Benson and his qualities of integrity and loyalty, as well as building on what they started together. 

“I think it’s important to acknowledge and honor a person who has done as much as he’s done for the University,” Hanley said.

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