Midge Bowen Bennet, Wesleyan’s Former First Lady, Dies

Editorial StaffDecember 6, 20233min
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President Michael S. Roth made the following announcement on December 5: 

Dear Friends,

I am sorry to report the death of Midge Bowen Bennet, Wesleyan’s former first lady, on December 3 at her home in Essex, CT.

Midge’s contributions to the University were wide ranging and impactful. She and the late President Emeritus Douglas J. Bennet ’59, Hon. ’94, P’87, ’94, GP’27, ’27 worked steadily to improve relations with the City of Middletown, frequently opening their campus home to local officials and residents for receptions. She took a keen interest in a variety of arts initiatives, served the Board of Trustees as a consultant, was a vigorous proponent of downtown business development, and was an advisor for the Wesleyan Argus. On the road, she was Doug’s frequent companion at alumni events, much beloved and admired by our alumni community.

She was always present to raise a cheer at celebratory moments and to lend her support at difficult times. For family and friends, there was no limit to her devotion.

Prior to joining Doug at Wesleyan, she was senior vice president at NPR in Washington, DC, representing the interest of the 281 public radio stations that helped to shape NPR policy. She participated in the search committee that hired Doug as NPR’s leader. Her arrival at Wesleyan was a return to the Connecticut River valley, having served previously as vice president of Connecticut Public Broadcasting and station manager at Connecticut Public Radio in Hartford, and as a Director of WGBY public television in Springfield, MA.

In 2007, Wesleyan honored her with an Outstanding Service Award. On campus, she lives in our memory through the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Chair, endowed in 2007, and Bennet Hall, named for Doug, Midge, and the Bennet family.

Midge is survived by her children, Richard Ramsey P’27 and Elizabeth Ho Chee; her stepchildren Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Hon. ’12, P’27, James Bennet, and Holly Bennet ’94, P’27; as well as 9 grandchildren, Eleanor Bennet Ramsey, Jasper Bennet Ramsey, Katherine Ho Chee, Toa Ho Chee, Caroline Bennet, Halina Bennet, Anne Bennet, Isaac Bennet, and Henry Bennet. Information on services will be forthcoming.

Michael S. Roth