Robert Benoit

Associate Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences
5098 Derring Hall
Blacksburg, VA

Born: 1934, Enosburg, Vermont

Initially attended a one-room school in Enosburg Center with instructor(s) exacting some of the highest standards of public school education.

  • 1956 B.S. Agronomy, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  • 1960 M.S. Soil Physics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
  • 1964 Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology, Rutgers University
  • 1962 Joined the Biology Department at Virginia Tech

For 40 years, Benoit and his students have pursued their interests in microbial ecology of subsurface ecosystems, physiology of microaerophilic and psychrophilic bacteria, and microbial degradation of recalcitrant natural products and synthetic compounds. One of his more rewarding career experiences has been in inspiring students as a teacher in such classes as General Microbiology, Microbiology of Aquatic Systems, and Biomedical Ethics. His dedication to teaching these and other classes, as well as advising, has led to numerous awards: Biology Department Teaching (1996), Biology Department Advising (1996,1997), Alumni University Teaching Award (1984), Arts & Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984), Wine Award (2002). Thus, Benoit served on the Academy of Teaching Excellence continuously since 1984. In 2002 he was also awarded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Virginia Professor of the Year. In the Biology Department, he served as Assistant Professor of Microbiology (1962-66), Associate Professor of Microbiology (1966-2002), and Assistant Biology Department Head (1992-2002). Benoit officially retired in 2002.

In retirement, Benoit continues teaching General Microbiology and Biomedical Ethics, as well as participating annually in the American Society of Microbiologists frequented by numerous Virginia Tech alumni. Other projects include Blacksburg Master Chorale, Opera Roanoke and Trustee of Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library.