Aug. 30, 2020 : Board names
Bennett 11th president
Oct. 15, 2020 : Team gathers to
meet new president
May 4, 2021 : President resigns
Feb. 11, 2022 : Bennett to return
to President's office
April 22, 2021: What does
March 2, 2022: Contracts that
Crusader News student media:
Bennet starts as president, tries
to re-earn trust.
Community Connection video
Brad Bennett has the unique distinction of serving as president of Seward County Community
College twice — as the 11th president from Oct. 12, 2020, to June 15, 2021, returning in January
2022. He likes to characterize the unusual events that led him to the office as "100 percent commitment
the first time, and now it's 150 percent thanks to the perspective I gained."
In 2020, Board of Trustees Chairman Ron Oliver announced "We're pleased to have made an offer
and signed a contract with our first choice of the five candidates interviewed,. Brad comes to
us not only with an impressive skill set and high recommendations from peers across the state,
he will also be a good fit for our community."
A Colorado native, Bennett worked in the private sector before he moved to K-12 education. In
his undergraduate studies Bennett majored in history and minored in education before earning
a master's degree in business. He is in the final stages of completing his doctoral degree.
Bennett came to Liberal after serving at Colby Community College for more than 12 years. Starting
as instructor and program director in 2008, he worked his way up with steady promotions. A
stint as interim chief financial officer offered an opportunity to expand his skills, he noted in his
application, though he opted to return to working directly with students rather than remain in
that position when offered the opportunity. As the first-ever executive vice president of CCC, he
combined oversight of academics and student affairs.
During his first stint at Seward, Bennett guided the college through the COVID-19 pandemic
from on-campus testing to vaccine clinics, implementation of wellness protocols, and oversight
of emergency funding from state and federal entities. A highlight of those difficult months was
the continued emphasis on volunteer work in the community and a "Seward Cares" event designed
to boost public morale. Thanks to contact tracing and partnership with the Seward County
Health Department, SCCC was able to remain open with in-person classes for the duration of
the 2020-21 academic year.
The college also successfully completed accreditation processes with the Higher Learning Commission,
added a grain elevator operator program, and revamped its nursing program curriculum.
A strong believer in data-driven initiatives, Bennett promotes a focus on measurable career
success for SCCC graduates and is proud of the college's high TIP rating, which ranks Seward as
the community college in Kansas with the highest earning outcomes for its graduates.
Following the amicable but unexpected departure of the college's 12th president, Dr. Greg Gunderson
due to a family crisis, Bennett "jumped at the opportunity to get back into higher ed,"
he said. "I learned over the past six months that education is truly where my heart is, and that
outweighs other factors."
'"The board is elated that Brad accepted our offer to return," said Oliver. "He did an excellent job
when he was here, and we know the campus will welcome him back."
With a contract for a house in Liberal already in place, Bennett, his wife Lindsey, and their two
young daughters excited to return. Following a whirlwind first week of appearances on local
media and civic events, Bennett plans to compete in the Men's Pacer Race for the 73rd annual
International Pancake Day celebration March 1.
"We love living in Western Kansas," he says, "and we want to stay and continue to serve the community.
Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.
Points of Pride:
• Work ethic
Guiding Principle: Continuous
Improvement in every single
thing we do every day.
Biggest Inspiration: My mother
was a lifelong educator and
wonderful person who instilled
values in me.
Go-to Stress Relief:
Book recommendation: The Best
Place to Work: The Art & Science
of Creating an Extraordinary
Workforce, by Ron Friedman