Mercedes Benton - Student Affairs Service Award 2006-07

Statement of Wonderfulness

In Celebration of

Mercedes Benton
Diversity Development Coordinator


Mercedes is responsible for the hiring, training and development of cultural center staffs and she provides leadership for the diversity development program.

Mercedes is an ex officio member of the advisory boards of each of the cultural centers, including the Pride Center.  She has served on numerous search committees and has worked with Health Promotion around sexual violence prevention.   Mercedes has made great contributions to academic success and student transition programs, and created the first odyssey class for students of color.  These are just a few of the programs she has been involved with.

Mercedes embodies the concepts of mentor, teacher, ally and friend.  Several colleagues spoke of her as the consummate professional, modeling self-reflection, life balance and commitment to student success.  Utilizing a variety of student development and wellness theories, Mercedes provided professional development programs for Student Life staff.  Mercedes is willing to share helpful feedback, even when it is difficult demonstrating her deep commitment to helping her colleagues be successful. 

Students who have had the good fortune of working with her hold Mercedes in the highest regard and consistently report their leadership development experiences to be of superior quality.  Mercedes’ successful and fully realized integrated training program has resulted in building community between student groups that had previously avoided interaction with one another.  Because of this extraordinary achievement, the student staffs of the centers are able to contribute to an inclusive campus environment and work together cooperatively to stage events and activities for the OSU community. 

Last year, LGBT students recognized her for extraordinary contributions to their campus community by honoring with their highest award, the Building Community Award.  Although it is impossible to convey the true extent of her many gifts and talents in one word, colleagues described Mercedes with words such as intentional, thoughtful, gracious, balanced, team-player, and the personification of “teacher.”       


12th Annual Service Awards Celebration
Division of Student Affairs
Oregon State University
May 22, 2007