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BA, History, Eastern Connecticut State University, 1992
MA, Political Science, Northeastern University, 1995
Dean's Convocation Speaker - Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Jeff Benedict is an award-winning investigative journalist and the best-selling author of nine books. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times and the Hartford Courant. His books have been the basis for features on "60 Minutes," "ABC News 20/20," "Dateline," "HBO Real Sports" and the Discovery Channel. He is a distinguished professor at Southern Virginia University, where he teaches advanced writing. He holds a juris doctorate, a master's degree in political science and a bachelor's degree in history and he previously practiced law in Connecticut. He is a frequent public speaker for professional organizations, clubs and schools.
In 2009, Mr. Benedict released two books. Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage (Grand Central Publishing, January ‘09). The book chronicles the epic story behind the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous decision on eminent domain – Kelo v. New London. The book received universal praise: “a fascinating narrative” (New York Times); “an absorbing read” (Wall Street Journal); “a mind-blowing story” (National Public Radio).
How To Build A Business Warren Buffet Would Buy: The RC Willey Story (Shadow Mountain, April ’09). The story behind a family-owned business that had only one asset – a pick-up truck – when it started in 1954; today the company is owned by Warren Buffett and is valued at more than $1 billion.
In 2007, Mr. Benedict published The Mormon Way of Doing Business: How Eight Western Boys Reached the Top of Corporate America (Warner Business Books), which is based on exclusive interviews with top corporate executives at Dell Inc., JetBlue Airways, Deloitte & Touche USA, American Express, Madison Square Garden Corp., Life Re Corp. and Harvard Business School. Benedict also wrote and co-produced a made-for-television documentary film based on the book.
In 2004, Mr. Benedict published Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA’s Culture of Rape, Violence and Crime (HarperCollins), which was the subject of a prime-time special on "ABC 20/20."
In 2003, Mr. Benedict published No Bone Unturned: The Adventures of a Top Smithsonian Forensic Scientist and the Legal Battle for America’s Oldest Skeletons (HarperCollins). It chronicles the life of a top government scientist, Dr. Doug Owsley, who won a landmark lawsuit over Kennewick Man, the oldest intact skeleton ever found in North America. The book was the subject of an "ABC News 20/20" profile and was the basis of a Discovery Channel documentary.
In 2000, Mr. Benedict published Without Reservation: How a Controversial Indian Tribe Rose to Power and Built the World’s Largest Casino (HarperCollins). This book was the subject of a "60 Minutes" segment and prompted calls for a Congressional investigation into the legitimacy of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and its land boundaries. The book has been optioned for a motion picture film.
His other books include: Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL (Warner Books), which was also the subject of an HBO documentary on crime in sports; Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women (Northeastern University Press 1997) and Athletes and Acquaintance Rape (Sage Publications, 1998). His first two books in violence against women were developed out of groundbreaking research that Mr. Benedict conducted while serving as the research director at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Society. He designed and published the first national studies into the prevalence rates of athletes to abuse women, as well as studies on the arrest and conviction rates of athletes who commit crimes against women. The results of these studies appeared in the Sociology of Sport Journal (1997) and the Journal of Sport & Social Issues (1995).
In addition to writing, Mr. Benedict has had an active career in politics. He ran for U.S. Congress in Connecticut and he is the former president of the Connecticut Alliance Against Casino Expansion, a non-profit corporation that he founded with business, civic and religious leaders from around Connecticut. In 2003, he partnered with Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to lead an effort to enact landmark legislation to stop casino expansion in the state. He has testified before Congress on the influence of the gambling industry.
Mr. Benedict has served as an expert witness on behalf of domestic violence and sexual assault victims, as well as an advisor and consultant to lawyers representing victims of violence. He is also a frequent essayist and guest commentator on national news programs and cable stations.
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