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U Bennion Center Announces New Executive Director

Dean McGovern to be the next executive director of the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center beginning Aug. 1

July 23, 2014 – The University of Utah announced that Dean McGovern will be the next executive director of the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center beginning Aug. 13. As executive director, McGovern will be responsible for managing the many operations of the center in the community and across campus, serving as the main liaison to U administration and the community advisory board.

Since 1999, McGovern has served as the director of Montana Campus Compact, a national state-based higher education consortium dedicated to campus civic engagement. He has also served as an assistant professor at the University of Montana since that time instructing courses in civic leadership, community health and systems ecology.

“Dean comes to the U with a wealth of experience in service, community engagement and higher education,” said Kari Ellingson, associate vice president for student development. “His experience with grant writing and fundraising will be invaluable as will his expertise in civic engagement. During his time at Montana Campus Compact, he has worked with all three past directors of the Bennion Center and has a strong admiration for the organization.”

McGovern will replace former executive director Linda Dunn, who left in June to head a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Africa with her husband. Dunn served as executive director for six years. Under her leadership, the Bennion Center implemented a successful fundraising initiative, began hosting monthly service house dialogues and Bennion-Hinckley forums for students, doubled participation in the alternative break program and worked to obtain the Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged Institution Designation for the U.

“During her time here, Linda brought an energy and vision to the Bennion Center which both capitalized on its strong history while simultaneously challenging the center to grow and expand into new areas,” added Ellingson. “She encouraged each successive group of students to make a difference by learning about and engaging as much as possible with the communities, populations and issues which fueled their passions.”

McGovern received his bachelor’s degree in physiology from Colorado State University and went on to receive his master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Montana. As director of Campus Compact, he has had full responsibility for the working relationship with the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, and has been responsible for the organization’s fund development and for maintaining working relationships with national and other state Campus Compacts.

“I’m thrilled to join one of the nation’s top-tier community service centers and carry forward the legacy of Lowell Bennion,” said McGovern. “It will be a great pleasure working with and learning from the exceptional, students, faculty, staff and community partners at the U.”