Engineering Dean's Office
3044A Torgersen Hall, Virginia Tech
620 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Office: (540) 231-9752
Dr. Richard Benson is the Dean of the College of Engineering.
Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in aerospace and mechanical science from Princeton University, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Prior to his current appointment, Benson was head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University beginning in 1995. Previously, while at the University of Rochester, he served as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and prior to that was the associate dean for graduate studies in the university's College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Benson's research at the University of Rochester was primarily focused on the mechanics of highly flexible structures. He and his advisees modeled magnetic disks and tapes, paper sheets, soft contact lenses, photographic film and other easily deformed structures. He has twice been honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In 1984, he received the ASME Henry Hess Award, which honors a research publication by a young author. He also became a fellow of ASME in 1998.
Benson's teaching interests are in structural mechanics, design, and applied mathematics. In 1981 he was honored as the top teacher in the College of Engineering and Applied science at the University of Rochester.
Prior to beginning his university career, he spent three years with the Xerox Corporation as a technical specialist and project manager specializing in the behavior of paper and paper transport devices.