Current Fellows

Spring 2022

Mayor Steve Benjamin’s Menschel Senior Leadership Fellowship begins Spring 1 2021.

Book office hours with Steve Benjamin (Mayor of Columbia, SC from 2010 to 2022):

  • Office hours booking: Office hours will be posted soon…

If you have any questions related to the Menschel Senior Leadership Fellowship program, please contact Eric Andersen (

Stephen Benjamin |  Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow

Stephen Benjamin

Since being elected mayor of Columbia, SC in a record turnout election in April 2010, Mayor Steve Benjamin has endeavored make Columbia the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in America. Mayor Benjamin served as the 2018-2019 President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as Chairman for Municipal Bonds for America, Member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, Member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign. Further, President Barack Obama’s administration commended Mayor Benjamin on his work on behalf of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK). The city’s MBK efforts, in addition to Mayor Benjamin’s leadership, have led to Columbia being seen as a nationwide leader in implementing and upholding the missions of the program. Equally, Mayor Benjamin was asked to speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where he talked about the importance of instilling in his daughters that they can do anything they set their minds to, even becoming President of the United States. Recognizing the enormous financial impact on local businesses resulting from drastic operational changes and closures due to the COVID-19 containment and social isolation measures, in March 2020 Mayor Benjamin and Columbia City Council unanimously passed A Resilient Columbia: Economic Sustainability Plan. The plan provided forgivable loans offering short-term financial relief to small businesses, located within the corporate limits of Columbia, impacted by a loss of revenue because of COVID-19 containment and safety efforts. As of More than 325 local businesses were awarded revenue assistance funds totaling $999,750. Because of the success of the program, Mayor Benjamin and Columbia City Council unanimously added an additional $400,000 in funding for loans to local businesses. Mayor Benjamin’s Corona Virus Pandemic national level response measures have included: •Formed Midlands Coronavirus Task Force on March 1, which held first meeting on March 6 •Accepted role as informal advisor to Bloomberg Philanthropies Coronavirus Local Response Initiative •Signed on to USCM letter requesting $250 billion in aid sent directly to cities; letters also sent to Senators Graham & Scott, and Congressman Clyburn •Co-chaired the Pandemic Resilience Working Group for America’s Mayors with former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg. •Served as National Chair of the Mayors for Masks initiative •Provided testimony before US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in May, 2020 Mayor Benjamin is married to the Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, Chief Administrative Judge (General Sessions) for South Carolina’s Fifth Judicial Circuit. The two are the proud parents of daughters Bethany and Jordan Grace.