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Dr. Andrew Benton Named UCO Interim President

Headshot of UCO Interim President Andrew Benton

Nov. 18, 2022

Media Contact: Adrienne Nobles, Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, 405-974-2103,

Dr. Andrew Benton Named UCO Interim President

The Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) board of regents today approved Andrew Benton, J.D., as the interim president of the University of Central Oklahoma at their regularly scheduled meeting. Benton will step into the leadership role in January, following current UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar’s announced departure after three and a half years as president and 15 years with the university. The board of regents also has initiated the national search process for the next president of UCO.

“Andrew Benton’s national reputation for excellence in higher education makes him an exceptional choice for interim president of Central,” said Connie Reilly, RUSO board chairperson. 

“As an Edmond resident, he is familiar with the university and the community. He has a keen understanding of UCO’s strengths and the value the university brings to Oklahoma.”

Benton has worked in higher education for 45 years. Most notably he served as president of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, from 2000 until his retirement in 2019. During that time, he served as chairperson of the American Council on Education, on the board of the Council on Higher Education and as chairperson of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Prior to his presidency, Benton served in various leadership roles at Pepperdine including vice president for administration, vice president for university affairs and executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1984 through 1999. Early in his career Benton spent 10 years in administration at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond.

“While I did not anticipate being offered such a fine leadership opportunity upon returning home to Edmond, I am grateful to be able to give back to the community in which my wife and I now live,” Benton said. 

“The University of Central Oklahoma has a very bright future, and I am delighted to be able to play a strategic part.”

Benton attended the University of Kansas, Oklahoma Christian University and received his Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar, the United States Supreme Court Bar and the American Bar Association. He currently serves on the board of directors of The Christian Chronicle and Ensysce Biosciences.

Founded in 1890, the University of Central Oklahoma is the third-largest university in Oklahoma, connecting nearly 14,000 students annually to undergraduate and graduate programs. For more information about Central, visit


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Cutline: The Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents named Dr. Andrew Benton as the University of Central Oklahoma’s interim president. The current Edmond resident has worked in higher education for 45 years, most notably as the president of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, from 2000-2019.