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Family’s gift to create study space for students, honor memory of library dean

A recent gift to Carson-Newman will allow for a new study space in the University’s Stephens-Burnett Memorial Library.

(Feb. 22, 2016)—Carson-Newman University is set to remodel a section of Stephens-Burnett Memorial Library to create a new study area for students in memory of Dr. Stan Benson, former dean of Library Services. The area will officially open in Fall 2016.

The renovated area will be known as the “Stanley H. Benson Reading Room.” It will be a quiet independent study space adjacent to the books in circulation.

“This will provide a comfortable, attractive space for students who want a quiet place to really concentrate on their work,” says current Dean of Library Services Bruce Kocour. “It’s all about the students and I think this will serve them well.”

Current plans include new flooring and furniture for a nearly 430-square-foot room, two connecting rooms and two additional small study rooms. The area outside the largest room will also be updated with new furniture.

Best known as Stan, Benson implemented Carson-Newman’s first computerized library catalog and automated library system during his 12 years as dean of library services. He also taught in the religion department, and in later years served as professor emeritus of library services.

Originally from Sparta, Illinois, he was the first president of Tenn-Share, a statewide library network, and received a Tennessee Baptist Heritage Award in 1993. He previously acted as library director at Kentucky Southern College, Gardner Webb College, Berry College and Oklahoma Baptist University.

“Stan was an innovative and influential director,” Kocour, who was hired by Benson, says. “I’m thankful for this gift because it allows us to create a space the students will use and appreciate, which is a wonderful way to honor his memory.

Benson and his wife, Sara, dedicated time teaching English to high school teachers at Yantai University in China for the C-N Chinese Cross Cultural Institute in 1993. The couple’s two sons are Andrew, a 1989 alum, and Raymond.

The Benson family will provide the funds to complete the project in his memory. Benson passed away in 2003.

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