NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Boy Scouts of America is proud to recognize the noteworthy and extraordinary leadership of distinguished citizens in our community. Their lives serve to inspire our youth to lead, accept responsibility and care about principles and causes beyond self-interest. Honoring distinguished citizenship delivers a message that character counts and puts into place guideposts to lead young men and women into adulthood.

Gayle Benson provides leadership for the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans as Owner, succeeding her husband, Tom Benson, who passed away on March 15, 2018, after serving as the Owner of the Saints since 1985 and Governor of the Pelicans franchise since 2012. The New Orleans native is an accomplished business professional and philanthropist with strong ties to the local community and who is dedicated to contributing to the growth and enhancement of the Gulf South region.

Mrs. Benson was born in New Orleans and grew up in Old Algiers. She began her education in Catholic schools and in 1966 graduated from Martin Behrman High School in Algiers. In 2019, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola University New Orleans, where she was the commencement speaker. She also has received honorary degrees from Our Lady of Holy Cross College (2015) and Southern University of New Orleans (2021) after serving as keynote speaker for their respective commencement ceremonies. She also received a Doctorate of Letters from Notre Dame Seminary in 2014. Mr. and Mrs. Benson married on October 29, 2004 at the Immaculate Conception Memorial Chapel.

40 years. That’s how long the Southeast Louisiana Council, Boy Scouts of America has been choosing one incredible New Orleanian a year to be recognized with the Distinguished Citizen Award. In 1986, the recipient was Mr. Tom Benson. On Tuesday, November 15, SELA Council will honor Mrs. Gayle Benson as the 2022 Distinguished Citizen at the WWII Museum.

If you’d like to learn more about SELA Council: https://www.bsa-selacouncil.org/

More information on the awards