Bennett receives Hugh Watson Award for leadership excellence at SE CUNA Management School

June 29, 2022 (Athens, GA) – Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools (SRCUS) is pleased to announce that Eric Bennett of Southeastern Credit Union has been awarded the 2022 Hugh Watson Award! Selected by vote of his classmates, Bennett accepted the award on June 17 during this year’s session of the Southeast CUNA Management School in Athens, GA. The award recognizes the exceptional contributions he has made to the class as a whole over the course of the three-year program and his outstanding leadership skills.

Eric Bennett 2022 Hugh Watson Award Recipient
L-R: Eric Bennett accepts the Hugh Watson Award from SRCUS Academic Advisor Craig Piercy

Born and raised in Valdosta, GA, Bennett joined Southeastern in 2017 and currently serves as the chief lending officer for the credit union, which services 14 counties in the South Georgia area. Prior to joining the credit union, he spent approximately 15 years in the community banking industry, serving in various roles including branch manager, and as a consumer, mortgage and commercial lender.

Upon receipt of the award, Bennett expressed his gratitude for the recognition and for what he learned through the program.

“SRCUS has provided me with the tools to be a better leader in my credit union,” shared Bennett. “It was an honor to serve as the class president for the 2022 graduating class. I was able to meet and make lifelong friendships with fellow credit union leaders. Being chosen by my peers to win the Hugh Watson Award is a huge honor. I am blessed by being in a class of great leaders, who are all just as deserving of this award. I am thankful for the opportunity to attend SRCUS.” In 2015, SRCUS instituted the Hugh Watson Award to recognize an outstanding third-year student that demonstrates the characteristics of leadership and excellence – traits embodied by Hugh Watson, the award’s namesake. Watson joined the SRCUS faculty in 1971 and during his tenure, he taught in all three years, served as academic coordinator and facilitated the third-year simulation for 43 years. Upon his retirement from SRCUS, the Hugh Watson Award was established.

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Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools (SRCUS) is a collaboration of seven southeastern credit union leagues, including the Carolinas Credit Union League, Kentucky Credit Union League, League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, Louisiana Credit Union League, Mississippi Credit Union Association, Tennessee Credit Union League, and Virginia Credit Union League. Through collaboration with CUNA and Affiliates, the first SRCUS Management School was established in 1970. Since the school’s formation it has graduated over 1,200 credit union management professionals from 21 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to the management school, SRCUS also hosts an annual Directors’ Conference, which provides a full range of informative educational sessions about critical issues important to today’s ever-changing financial industry for credit union directors and committee members. For more information, visit

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