Amber Benton

Amber Benton holding up her EIDA award certificate

Amber Benton serves as James Madison College’s (JMC) Director of Diversity Programming and Student Engagement. She continually impresses those around her with her energy, intellect, and dedication to the James Madison College community, as well as to the values of diversity, inclusion, equity, and multiculturalism that MSU seeks to advance.

Among the many initiatives Benton has created and overseen are the Madison Academic Diversity Initiative program (MADI), which fosters the professional development of underrepresented students; the First-Year Mentor Program, which pairs first-year and transitional students with experienced student mentors; and two university-wide efforts: the Social Justice Art Festival and MSU’s Women of Color Community.

Additionally, Benton’s work with the members of the JMC Inclusion Committee provides another window into understanding her commitment to diversity and the ethos of inclusivity in that college. The Inclusion Committee has a broad mandate to advise the dean on policies that address systemic institutional issues that inhibit the ability to serve all students, to share research on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues, and to provide outreach to all members of the college. While the committee can sometimes function on an ad-hoc basis to address problems that appear in the moment, Benton has been a driving force to encourage JMC to promote longer-term systemic change.

In sum, Amber Benton is a profound asset to MSU and is highly deserving of the Excellence in Diversity “Individual” award. Among a talented and distinguished crowd of professionals, she represents the very best of what MSU has to offer.