Benjamin C. Durant III, a financial management executive with extensive experience in higher education and local government, has been selected to be Montclair State University’s Interim Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, effective June 12.
In this newly created role, Durant will provide executive leadership to ensure the University’s financial, administrative and operational integrity and provide oversight for the institution’s nearly $500 million operating budget and core operational areas including human resources, information technology, finance, business services and facilities.
“This new position will enhance consistency, efficiency and coordination across the administrative and financial operations that are critical to faculty and student success,” says Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell. “Ben Durant’s experiences as a strategic senior leader, his commitment to innovation and effectiveness, and his collaborative approach to management will make him a valuable addition to the senior leadership team.”
Durant grew up in Hertford, North Carolina, and credits his mother, an eighth grade English teacher, and his father, a Vietnam veteran in the U.S. Air Force, with inspiring him to become a career public servant who has worked in higher education and municipal government for more than 25 years.
From 2010 to 2021, Durant held vice presidential roles for Guilford College, North Carolina Central University and Elizabeth City State University. His career in academia followed 13 years in municipal government with the City of Asheville, North Carolina, including several years as its Chief Financial Officer.
Most recently, Durant was brought in to serve as Interim Chief Financial Officer for New Jersey City University in April 2022 to help the institution navigate severe financial difficulties. He worked to understand the causes of the situation and helped to develop a plan for recovery. That temporary assignment concluded at the end of May.
“I look forward to contributing to Montclair’s mission as a public-serving institution. I have tremendous respect for the work that’s going on here,” says Durant. “Serving others is important to me, and I am eager to put my skills and experiences to work to help my new colleagues and the entire University.”
Durant earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Elizabeth City State University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.