During his four years as a student and peer tutor at Saint Anselm College, Benjamin Horton, Ph.D. ’12, always saw himself as an educator. His passion for teaching fueled him to go on to get his M.Ed. and ACE Teaching Fellowship from the University of Notre Dame, and eventually his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from the University of New Hampshire.
Since 2014, Horton now assistant dean for first-year students and academic support services at the College has been helping students explore and achieve their personal and academic goals.
“Students are what make it such a joy to come to work each day. That’s why I chose to return to Saint Anselm as an employee—because the college’s wonderful faculty and staff made my experience so meaningful and formative. I hope to pass that on to each and every student I interact with,” says Horton.
Horton’s impact extends far beyond the Dean’s Office, however. In 2015, he began teaching in the college’s Conversatio program, a seminar-style course geared towards first-year students. Two years later, his Conversatio cohort piloted the Hillsborough Humanities Program, adding a community-engaged learning component to the class. The program brings the Humanities curriculum to Goffstown’s Hillsborough County Nursing Home, engaging elderly residents in conversations about Plato and Boethius alongside Saint Anselm students.
“Hillsborough really has given me a lot of perspective in terms of my work,” he says. “It has shaped the way I teach, explain things, the way I ask questions, the way I listen—I think it’s been a meaningful experience for the students as well.”
Horton was awarded the Campus Compact for New Hampshire Presidents’ Good Steward Award in 2019 for his work with the Hillsborough program.
Another of Horton’s project, Hilltop Academy, is a tuition-free, for-credit summer program designed for incoming first-years. As co-director of the program, Horton helps students adjust to the Anselmian community with a 2-credit academic course during the summer before their first semester.
Horton was inducted into the Union Leader’s 40 Under Forty class of 2020 for his public service and professional development in New Hampshire. He joins his wife and fellow alumna Alexandra (Puglisi) Horton ’11, who was inducted in 2015, and is owner of two restaurants Café la Reine and Café la Reine North End in Manchester.
“My wife Alex and I have found Saint Anselm to be a very supportive home. We’ve also found New Hampshire to be a very positive place for us to live, to have a business, and to work,” he says.
Despite his long list of achievements, Horton considers himself a “hobby guy.” In his spare time, he loves to fly-fish, spend time with his rescue Schnauzer, Keefe, and Irish wolfhound, Clash, and play in an ice hockey league. He even builds an ice rink in his yard every winter. Horton, and a friend, raise bees in their spare time, and also sell their honey at Café la Reine.
Adapted from “Past, Present, Anselmian: Benjamin Horton, Ph.D. ’12” by Samantha Jette ’20 published in Portraits in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition.