University president answers challenge to shovel student's driveway

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

When Eastern Kentucky University senior Devan Dannelly joked in a tweet last week that the only way he was going to class on a snowy day was if the school president cleared his driveway, the last thing he expected was for the president himself to show up with a shovel in hand.

University president Michael Benson responded to Dannelly's tweet by asking for his address, and while Dannelly was out running errands for his mother, Benson took him up on the challenge and showed up on Feb. 18 to shovel the driveway.

Dannelly lives with his mother in Berea, Kentucky, near the Eastern Kentucky campus. She answered the door while her son was out to find Benson and friend Chris Ratcliff armed with shovels ready to clear the driveway.

The Dannellys ended up inviting Benson and Ratcliff to stay for dinner after they were done shoveling.

"I was and still am pretty shocked that someone in his position would do something like that,'' Dannelly told "It is rare that an average student like myself gets to have any kind of interaction with their campus president, so I feel honored really. He is really a top-class guy, and I think we both have become semi-famous overnight from all of this."

Even though classes were cancelled the following two days after Benson's shoveling job, Dannelly still kept his promise.

“I have always tried to stay in touch with students via social media, and will continue to do so at every opportunity,'' Benson said in a statement to TODAY. "It is just one way to demonstrate that we care about our students at Eastern Kentucky. In the past year, I have accepted challenges to play dodgeball and ping pong matches with students, and even threw a touchdown pass in the spring football scrimmage. However, this was the first time I had accepted a challenge to shovel a student's driveway in order to get them to class and it enabled me to make a connection with Devan that otherwise may not have happened."

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This article was originally published Feb. 25, 2015 at 6:15 p.m. ET.