Taft University Awards Honorary Doctorate to Denise M. Bender
William Howard Taft University honors founder and past Executive Director of the Lemhi County Crisis Intervention/Mahoney Family Safety Center (LCCI/MH) – Denise M. Bender – with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (D.Litt) for her social contributions and public service to victims of domestic violence in Idaho.
Dr. Neil Johnson, Chief Academic Officer at Taft University granted the honorary doctorate degree at the retirement party celebrating Denise’s 14 years of continuous service in Salmon, Idaho. He was assisted by Dr. Kary Ledbetter, current director of LCCI/MH and a member of the Taft University faculty.
Left to right: Dr. Kary Ledbetter, Denise M. Bender, Dr. Neil Johnson
“The William Howard Taft University criteria to award an honorary degree is outstanding scholarly contribution within a field supporting major breakthroughs in knowledge; or professional prominent contributions and innovative works of distinction; or the advancement of an industry of business through innovative activity; or specific social contributions and acts of public service. Ms. Bender meets not one but all four of these categories through her work founding and leading the Lemhi County Crisis Intervention/Mahoney Family Safety Center,” said Dr. Johnson.
Dr. Ledbetter commented that, “throughout her career as director of LCCI/MH, Denise has contributed to the professional knowledge of her peers working to counteract the impact of domestic violence. Her innovative use of community and donor resources resulted in the creation of the Mahoney Family Safety Center, a community resource and safe place in Salmon, Idaho. She has made outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of domestic violence intervention through her authorship of numerous informative articles to local and state-wide publications and her active participation as a conference facilitator and presenter. Further, Ms. Bender provides significant social contributions and acts of public service through her community activity and advocacy efforts.
As the visionary for LCCI/MH, as well as a staunch advocate for men, women and children throughout Idaho, Ms. Bender has been able to influence public awareness of domestic violence, support children and youth as they develop their perspectives on relationships, and serve as a tireless advocate for the needs of those in the community. Denise has been an active participant in state domestic violence committees and associations. She was recently nominated as a Woman of the Year in Idaho.
“I have had four life changing experiences”, said Mrs. Bender. “The opportunity to raise four sons; to be present at the moment when my mother took her last breath; to experience a spinal cord injury and all the positive changes it led to in my life; and, receiving my doctorate in Humane Letters from Taft University. There are many ways to become educated. My spinal cord injury opened my heart to service but did not give me the knowledge I needed to be successful in running a domestic violence shelter. Over the years I learned from the men, women, and children who sought help or shared their life stories. Receiving my doctorate validates this education life provided me.”
To learn about the Lemhi County Crisis Intervention/Mahoney Family Safety Center go to www.mahoneyhouse.com.