Vince Benigni


Address: 7 College, Room 206

Vince Benigni has more than three decades of experience in public relations and mass media. He regularly teaches Principles and Practices in Strategic Communication (Comm 216), Addressing Problems in Context (Sport and Society; Comm 336), and Media in the Digital Age (Comm 214), in addition to graduate courses. From 2009-2013, Dr. Benigni was the director of the master's degree program in Communication at the College. Also, he was appointed by the President in 2009 to be the College's Faculty Athletics Representative, just the second in the school’s history. In 2013-14, he served as a Faculty Administrative Fellow and helped the College's transition to the Colonial Athletic Association and its Colonial Academic Alliance.

Dr. Benigni received his Ph.D. in Mass Communication at the University of Georgia (UGA) in 1999. While at UGA, he served a three-year research assistantship with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards, considered the world's premier broadcast award. A summary of his dissertation, a study of external communication strategies in sports heritage venues, was presented at the International Association of Sports Museums and Halls of Fame Conference in Fall 1999. In Summer 1998, Dr. Benigni co-produced a video for the Ty Cobb Museum (Royston, GA) that was a finalist for the prestigious Vision Award. His previous degrees came from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Journalism) in 1983 and Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (English) in 1990.

For 10 years, Dr. Benigni was a sports information director (SID), beginning with a two-year stint as an assistant SID at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1986-88. Among his duties was being the primary media contact for National Player of the Year David Robinson in men's basketball. From 1988-96, he was SID for a 22-sport program at Mary Washington College (VA). In 2015, he received the College's Distinguished Service Award, and has since served on that award's selection committee several times.

Dr. Benigni's research interests include sports communication and public relations education. Four of his manuscripts (lead author in each) -- "Establishing a Renown-Gown Relationship: The Role of Advisory Boards in Communication Programs," "The Role of Clients in the Public Relations Campaigns Course,” "Teaching Public Relations Campaigns: The Current State of the Art" and "To Evolve is to Involve: Analyzing Student Choice in the Introduction to Public Relations Class," have been published in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. The first two articles were named Top Papers at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) national conference. He is also lead author for an AEJMC paper ("A Sense of Agency: Utilizing Firms in the Public Relations Campaigns Course") that was accepted by PRism Journal.  

More recently, he has had articles published about the impact of fan-based Internet sports communities in the Electronic Journal of Communication and the new handbook “Sports Media:  Transformation, Integration, Consumption."  He has also authored chapters about the mediated game-day experience in the Handbook of Sport and New Media and also about sports and cable television in the Handbook of Sports and Media. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Sports Media and Journalism & Mass Communication Educator. These are both international journals.

He established (and was adviser for) the College’s chapter for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The College's chapter (established in 2003) is one of only two in the state, along with the University of South Carolina. The chapter received a national award from PRSSA for chapter development in 2006. Dr. Benigni was also on the board for the statewide chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, in charge of student relations.

As chair of the Department's Awards and Events Committee for nine years, he oversaw the annual departmental Awards Banquet and the Distinguished Communicators Series, and has organized other programs, including the annual Internship Fair. He also instituted the department's Public Relations Forum, a semiannual gathering of area communication experts. He was the first recipient of the prestigious Department Chair's Award in 2004, and again received the award in 2006 and 2013. Student leaders from PRSSA and Lambda Pi Eta voted him the Department's Teacher of the Year in 2006.  He received the Outstanding Faculty Award for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the 2013 ExCEL Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Benigni was a longtime member of the Cougar Club (athletics) Board of Directors, serving on various fund raising and steering committees. He has also authored a book titled True Maroon: A History of College of Charleston Athletics, which was published in Spring 2008. He was also a Faculty Senator for the College, and serves on several campus-wide committees, ranging from Student Life and Athletics to Adult Student Retention.


1999 - Ph.D., Mass Communication, University of Georgia (UGA)
1990 - English, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
1983 - Journalism, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

  • Sports Communication
  • Public Relations Education

Courses Taught

Media in the Digital Age; Addressing Problems in Context (Strategic Communication; Sport and Society); Capstone in Communication; Graduate Course in Entertainment, Sports and Popular Culture

Honors and Awards

  • Department of Communication Chair's Award (three times)

  • ExCEL Award for HSS Outstanding Faculty Member

  • PRSSA/Lambda Pi Eta Faculty Member of the Year

  • Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member

  • Cougar Club Faculty/Staff Fan of the Year (twice)

  • PRSSA Chapter Development National Award

  • 2015 - Distinguished Service Award (College of Charleston) 


True Maroon: A History of College of Charleston Athletics, which was published in Spring 2008