A NEW ERA OF REVITALIZATION BEGINS AT AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE WITH THE INVESTITURE OF PRESIDENT HUBERT BENITEZ
With a promise of “only hard work and passion,” Hubert Benitez, DDS, PhD, was officially sworn in as the twelfth president of American International College in a stirring investiture ceremony on October 20, 2022. The native of Colombia delivered parts of his acceptance address in both English and Spanish, saying, “I think passion is important, for it’s passion that makes things possible.”
The ceremony inside the Esther B. Griswold Theatre in the Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center took place six months after Dr. Benitez took office as president on April 11, 2022. Benitez told the audience that during that time, “I’ve been asked, multiple times, what surprised me most about AIC. I always say I’ve found that not only are people grateful to be here, but they love the place.”
Those who came to celebrate the new president included members of his family, the AIC faculty, administration, student body, and the community. Several leaders of other area colleges and universities were also in attendance.
AIC alum Congressman Richard Neal ’72 addressed the audience, saying, “I was able to ride the crest of what I learned here around the world.” The Springfield Democrat and chair of the US House Ways and Means Committee added, “I am able to debate Presidents, members of Congress, ambassadors, despots, and dictators from around the world because of the confidence I gained at AIC.”
While Benitez has dedicated the last two decades to higher education as an academic, administrator, and faculty member, he additionally spent fifteen years as a clinician. Prior to his appointment as president of AIC, Benitez served as vice president for Strategic Initiatives and Academic Innovation, and as acting chief inclusion officer at Rockhurst University; as president and CEO for Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences; and has served in other executive leadership roles, including provost and chief academic officer, dean of Health Sciences, department chair, assistant dean, and has held academic rank at the associate professor level.
President Benitez used the occasion to offer his vision for the future of the College, saying “We have challenges, but we will confront those challenges and turn them into opportunities. We are revitalizing what needs to be revitalized. Today is not about change, but about reimagining. We are dreaming big dreams with goals in mind.”
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