M. Lynn Bennion, retired superintendent of the Salt Lake School District, was recenty inducted into the Utah Educators Hall of Fame. The April 17 ceremonies were held in the atrium of the Emma Eccles Jones Education Building at Utah State University, site of the hall.
Bennion is the second Utah educator inducted into the hall. Oral L. Ballam, USU dean of the college of education, was the first inductee. The recognition program is sponsored by the five Phi Delta Kappa chapters in Utah.At his retirement as superintendent in 1969, Bennion was lauded as "moderate, understanding and articulate, a tireless worker on behalf of improving education."
Obert C. Tannner said of Bennion, "If a single tribute . . . were to attempt to pinpoint the genius or the special distinction of the retiring superintendent, it may be this: While many leaders are strong in one of these ideals (democracy, scientific method and reverence for personality), few leaders are exceedingly knowledgeable and deeply committed to all three."
Drawing from Tanner's words, a citation read at Thursday's ceremony continued: "The possibility of great distinction arises because all three of these ideas are mastered by a single individual; they have become evenly balanced in his life. It is this rare accomplishment that promotes the induction of M. Lynn Bennion into the Utah Educators Hall of Fame."
Bennion led the Salt Lake District for nearly 25 years, beginning in 1945. The era was one of drastic change - some related to war and postwar conditions. Inflation, national waves of criticism of educational methods, increased demands of the schools and vastly increased enrollments produced many crises and challenges. At the time of his retirement from Utah's largest school district, enrollment in 43 elementary, 11 junior high and four senior high schools exceeded 40,000.
After leaving the district, Bennion spent 12 years serving as executive secretary of the Society of Utah School Superintendents.
Nominees must exemplify commitment to quality education and improvement of the profession. Each must have 20 years of experience in education, with 10 years of experience in Utah.
The five chapters sponsoring the program are at USU, Southern Utah, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Brigham Young University.