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Dr. Mimi Benjamin (’89, M.A. ‘96), a Clarion University alumna and mentee of the late Mary Walter, will speak at the year’s final lecture of the Mary Walter Leadership Series at 7 p.m. April 17 in Clarion University’s Moore Hall. Her topic will be “Authentic Leadership.”

In her career, Benjamin has strove to teach the wisdom gained from both Walter and the university, both of which she credits with providing necessary leadership skills.

Mimi Benajamin“As a leader, Mary had a tremendous impact on me. She modeled the kind of leadership I wanted to practice,” Benjamin said. “She communicated to students through her interactions with them that she trusted us, had confidence in our abilities and respected the work we did.”

Benjamin cited an example: “When I was a graduate student, Mary invited me to co-present with her at a national conference. I had never presented on the national level and didn’t think I had anything to contribute. Mary thought I did, and she provided me with an opportunity that was significant to my growth as a professional and as a leader. To this day, when I present at a national conference, I think about that first opportunity that was given to me by Mary Walter.”

Benjamin believes that leadership programs like the Mary Walter Leadership Speaker Series are valuable for students because they have an opportunity to hear about the lived experiences of leaders and interact with these individuals.

“There are many different ways to be a leader, and students can gain new perspectives on what it means to positively contribute to an organization through such programs,” she said.

Benjamin earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education/English and a master’s degree in English, both from Clarion University. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Ohio University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University. Benjamin held student affair administrator positions at Plymouth State, Iowa State and Cornell universities before joining Indiana University of Pennsylvania as assistant professor in the student affairs in higher education department in 2013.

The Mary Walter Leadership Series was created in 1993 by the late Mary Walter, former Clarion University assistant dean for student life services and director of orientation. Six events are held each year, three in fall and three in spring. This year’s theme is “Defining Your Purpose.”

For more information about the Mary Walter Leadership Series, email

Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.

4/4/2014 10:58 AM

Alumna speaks at year’s final Mary Walter Leadership Series event