The University of Akron and Kent State University have new members on their boards of trustees thanks to recent appointments from Gov. Mike DeWine.

The governor appointed Michael J. Dowling of Canton as a UA trustee for a term beginning July 2 and ending July 1, 2028. DeWine also appointed Taylor A. Bennington of Akron as a student member on the board for a term beginning July 2 and ending July 1, 2021.

DeWine appointed Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin to the Kent State board of trustees. Her appointment began June 21 and ends May 16, 2028.

Dowling, a 1987 UA graduate, is the senior vice president for external affairs at FirstEnergy Corp. He fills a vacancy created by the expiration of Ralph J. Palmisano's term.

Bennington earned his undergraduate degree in political science this spring and is a student in the Akron School of Law. He served for two years as the president of the Undergraduate Student Government. He fills a vacancy created when the term of Joshua E.J. Thomas expired.

In a news release, UA Board Chairman Joseph M. Gingo called Dowling "well-known and highly regarded" and said Bennington has a "very strong feeling for the student perspective."

At Kent State, Womer Benjamin fills the seat of Margot Copeland, whose term recently expired. She has been the mayor of Aurora in Portage County since 2013 and was previously a member of the City Council. She was also a member of the State Board of Education from 2007-2010, serving as vice president.

Womer Benjamin practiced law for 24 years, first with Black, McCuskey, Souers and Arbaugh in Canton, where she became the first woman partner, and then with Arter & Hadden LLP in Cleveland, specializing in estate planning, probate and probate litigation.

Trustees are the governing bodies that oversee the state's public universities and are responsible for setting tuition, approving contracts and approving the hiring of personnel and granting all degrees by the university.

 

Contact reporter Jennifer Pignolet at jpignolet@thebeaconjournal.com, at 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.