Department of Materials Science and Engineering alumnus Howard Benson, BS ’80, is the recipient of a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. Benson was honored for “his chart-topping achievements as a music producer and his generosity in creating opportunities for musicians and aspiring producers.”
Benson received his BS in what was then known as the Department of Materials Engineering at Drexel. Upon graduation, he first worked in aerospace while playing music on the side. He then went on to become a full-time producer and specializes in producing rock acts with a mainstream sound, including artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Santana, and My Chemical Romance, among others. He has produced more than 80 albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year in 2007 and 2008. In addition to his work as a music producer, he has held top positions in the Artists and Repertoire (A&R) divisions at several major music labels. Benson credits his engineering background and the discipline required to be an engineer for his success in the music industry.
As an alumnus, Benson has established the Howard and Monica Benson Endowed Scholarship Fund for students enrolled in the Westphal College. He has also taught advanced production classes in the college’s music industry program and provided support for a recording studio used by Drexel students. Benson received the honorary degree at the Westphal College’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 13 at 7 p.m.