The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology rang in 2014 by appointing Anthony Benoit as the 12th president in the college’s 106-year history on January 1.
BFIT faced the sudden, sad loss of President George Chryssis in May of 2013. Benoit, who was then serving as the South End school’s academic dean, was asked to fill in as interim president.
“During his term as interim president, Tony demonstrated he well understands our college, our challenges and our opportunities,” said Anne Bailey Berman, chair of BFIT’s Board of Trustees, in a statement.
The institution hired outside firm Isaacson, Miller to begin the search for a new president. Yet, after vetting Benoit first, the search stopped there. During his time at BFIT, Benoit had already successfully redesigned the curriculum, strengthened the current program offerings and introduced new programs. He has also helped the school secure large grants from major funders, including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as lead the academic division of the college through its recent 10-year NEASC accreditation.
Prior to joining BFIT in 2011, Benoit was director of the technology department and professor of environmental technology at Three Rivers Community College in Connecticut. While at Three Rivers, Benoit created a new associate degree program and technology learning community.
BFIT has proven itself as a college that’s quietly re-wiring higher education. The skills-based school serves as the only private, nonprofit, two-year technical college in the state. What’s more, four of BFIT’s 14 career-path programs are unique to the school. Their flagship automotive program is the oldest in the country, and the institution is also the only one in Mass. to offer A.S. degrees in opticianry and electrical technology and B.S. degrees in health information technology and automotive management.
Even at nearly 470 students, BFIT is annually awarding nearly $1 million in financial aid to 90 percent of the college’s students. As Mehdi Okasi, BFIT’s associate director of development and communications, noted in a prior interview, “Enrollment is up, but we still have a long way to go.”
With Benoit now at the helm, however, the school’s future is looking fruitful.