OFE News Release
Former Speaker Loyd Benson Named President of Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
October 10, 2007
Loyd Benson (left), new president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, is congratulated by outgoing president Ken Fergeson. Benson officially assumed his new duties as president at the foundation’s recent Board of Trustees’ meeting in Oklahoma City.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Former Speaker of the House Loyd Benson, a FREDERICK native and current president of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, has been named president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
The foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Benson joined the foundation as one of its trustees in 2000.
“The foundation has been a positive force in encouraging excellence in public education, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity of leading its efforts this next year,” Benson said.
Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation provides $258,000 in scholarships and cash awards annually to honor outstanding high school seniors as Academic All-Staters and exceptional educators as Medal for Excellence winners. The foundation provides free technical support and training to local education foundations across the state.
Among its other initiatives, the Foundation for Excellence coordinates a program to send Oklahoma teachers to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute each summer and provides scholarships for schools to receive Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips, bringing history to life in the classroom. In 2005, the foundation launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote the establishment and growth of school-based mentoring programs throughout Oklahoma. The foundation also administers Teacher Scholarships for Professional Development and Fund for Teachers grants for Oklahoma educators.
Benson, who retired from the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2002, now serves as president and principal executive officer of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative Inc. He was first elected to the Legislature in 1984, where he subsequently served as majority leader for six years before becoming speaker of the House. He was principal author of the law that overhauled Oklahoma’s juvenile justice system and provided critical leadership in legislation dealing with Oklahoma’s highway system and health care programs, in particular, those affecting the state’s rural health care delivery system.
Benson earned his associate’s degree from Cameron University and bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Oklahoma. An active state leader, he serves as a commissioner for District V for the Department of Transportation and was a charter trustee of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
Benson is a board member of the Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America and serves as president of the Frederick School Enrichment Foundation. He has received numerous honors from both state and national organizations for his service in the legislative. He and his wife, Judy, have three children and seven grandchildren.