Matthew Benney, Associate Vice President for Academic Support, was recently presented with the Friends of WESTOP award at the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel annual conference in Honolulu, HI recently. The award is given each year to an individual, corporation or organization that "has made significant contributions to the field of educational equity through personal, financial, moral, political or ideological means going above and beyond the call of duty". Former winners have been congressional reps and senators. Benney's nomination was made by Emalyn Lapus from the Japanese Community Youth Council in San Francisco.
Benney currently oversees the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, supervises ten federally funded grant programs and serves as the Principle Investigator for a national training grant through the U.S. Department of Education-Higher Education Programs Division. He has been actively lobbying Congress on educational equity policy issues for more than twenty years and is very active in mentoring young educational equity professionals throughout the western region.