Dr. G. William Benz was appointed President of Ashland University in December 1992 and began his term in May 1993. He came to Ashland from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he had served as Provost since 1986. Prior to his years at Ohio Wesleyan, Dr. Benz served for three years at The Defiance College in Ohio as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty.
Dr. Benz received his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside, and two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Before moving into administration, he was a faculty member at several private colleges and universities, including Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut; Lake Forest College in Illinois; Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington; and at the University of Denver. At both Trinity and Lake Forest, he was selected as teacher of the year.
His area of academic specialization is in Russian and Soviet studies, primarily foreign policy and U.S.-Soviet relations. However, he has taught a wide range of courses in political science and history, including a major interest in the role of religion in Russia as it has evolved from the pre-Soviet era to the present day. Dr. Benz has published numerous articles and papers on U.S.-Soviet relations, and he and his wife, Gerry, have led five study tours of the Soviet Union for undergraduate students and one for adults.
He has held leadership roles in a number of national and state professional associations, including serving as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO); Vice Chair and Chair of the Board of Directors of the College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS); and Co-Chair of the Ohio Campus Compact. He also has served on several local boards, including the Chamber of Commerce, Huntington National Bank, and the Boy Scouts of America.