Vince Benigni


Address: 7 College, Room 206

Vince Benigni has four decades of experience in public relations and mass/digital 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 George Foster Peabody Awards, one of the world's premier honors in television, radio, and online media. In Summer 1998, Dr. Benigni scripted and 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 consensus National Player of the Year David Robinson in men's basketball. From 1988-96, he was SID at Mary Washington College (VA).

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 & 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") published by PRism Journal.

More recently, he has written articles about the impact of fan-based Internet sports communities for the Electronic Journal of Communication and the handbook Sports Media: Transformation, Integration, Consumption. He has also penned chapters about the mediated game-day experience and sport commodification in the Handbook for Sports Fans and Fandom, Social Media and Crisis Communication, and the Handbook of Sport and New Media, and about sports and cable television in the Handbook of Sports and Media. He is an editorial board member for the Journal of Sports Media, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, and the Journal of Public Relations (special editions). He also has authored seven guest columns since 2015, for daily newspapers in South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

He established (and was adviser for) the College’s chapter for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), at the time 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 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. In 2015, he received the College's Distinguished Service Award, and has since served on that award's selection committee several times.

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 has served as a Faculty Senator for the College, and currently is on several campus-wide committees, ranging from Student Life/Athletics (ex-officio) to Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Effectiveness (ad hoc/Faculty Senate) to the Faculty Club Executive Committee.


Ph.D., Mass Communication | University of Georgia
M.A., English | Slippery Rock University
B.A., Journalism | Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

  • sports communication
  • public relations education

Honors and Awards

  • 2015 - Distinguished Service Award (College of Charleston)
  • 2013 - ExCEL Award for HSS Outstanding Faculty Member
  • 2013, 2006, 2004 - Chair's Award (Department of Communication, College of Charleston)
  • 2006 - PRSSA/Lambda Pi Eta Faculty Member of the Year
  • 2006 - PRSSA Chapter Development National Award
  • Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member
  • Cougar Club Faculty/Staff Fan of the Year (twice)


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