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William Benn Student Success Fund

William Benn The William Benn Student Success Fund was named in 2023 in honor of William "Bill" Benn.

He traveled from Lakewood, New Jersey to Montgomery, West Virginia in the 1960s to study civil engineering at West Virginia Institute of Technology (now West Virginia University Institute of Technology). Benn was part of a tight-knit, blue-collar family with five siblings.

While he was a student, Benn joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He also worked part-time at the West Virginia Department of Transportation. He was only a few semesters short of graduating when he ran out of money for school and decided to work full-time to save up and finish his degree.

It was during this time Benn was drafted for the ongoing war in Vietnam.

Private First-Class Benn served in the Marine Corps beginning in September 1968. His unit was dispatched to the Quang Tri province of Vietnam. On the night of June 5 his unit was attacked by North Vietnamese mortars. The assault lasted through the night and into the morning.

William Benn was among those killed in the attack on June 6, 1969.

William Benn with fraternity

Sigma Phi Epsilon at WVU Tech in the 1960s. Benn is in the second row, fourth from left.

The Fund

Though William did not have the opportunity to finish his degree, his namesake fund is helping Golden Bears complete their educations using money graciously donated by supported to help pay for things students need that regular scholarship money might not provide. Donations within the fund are provided by those who recognize the need to help the next generation achieve the future that higher education provides.

Header Photo: Drawing of Old Main, West Virginia Institute of Technology, Montgomery, W. Va.
Source: West Virginia & Regional History Center