Campus Life

President Judith Bense wins “Woman of the Year”

By Josh Newby, University Communications

University of West Florida President Dr. Judith Bense received the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce’s “Woman of the Year” award Jan. 29. Bense was described as being a groundbreaking leader in Santa Rosa County and someone who is active in the area’s growth.

“Almost immediately after being named president of UWF, she reached out and engaged Santa Rosa County in new ways by networking with the community and its businesses, committing to placing UWF leaders in Leadership Santa Rosa, encouraging UWF faculty and staff to become involved in Santa Rosa County, and committing to and becoming active in our Chamber,” said Larry Strain, 2010 president of the Chamber.

The award has long been recognized as a prestigious distinction, and it promotes Bense’s long-standing contributions to the university, as well as its surrounding area. She founded the Anthropology and Archeology Program at UWF in 1980 and the Florida Public Archeology Network more than 25 years later. Bense became the first female president of UWF in 2008, and has since brought UWF into the spotlight of northwest Florida and has worked to increase enrollment and maintain a high level of academic performance.

Santa Rosa County’s Woman of the Year award is chosen by selecting the best out of a group of nominees that are recommended by the Chamber’s members.

“I was honored to be named Woman of the Year by the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce,” Bense said. “To me this award underscores that the University of West Florida is becoming more successful in meeting the needs of our region. I feel very privileged to accept this award on behalf of the university.”