Craig Benson

Craig Benson
University of Virginia, United States of America
Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science


Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science

University of Virginia


Craig H. Benson is Dean of the School of Engineering and the Janet and James Hamilton Endowed Char in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia (UVA). Prior to his appointment at UVa, Benson was Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Geological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). At UW-Madison, Benson held several leadership roles with an environmental engineering emphasis, including Director of Sustainability Research and Education for the university, Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chair of Geological Engineering, and Director of the Recycled Materials Resource Center. Dr. Benson has a BS from Lehigh University and MSE and PhD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, all in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in geoenvironmental engineering. Dr. Benson is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Benson has been conducting research related to protection of the environment for three decades, with primary focus on beneficial use of industrial byproducts; environmental containment of solid, hazardous, radioactive, and mining wastes; and sustainable infrastructure. He is recognized as the foremost international authority on engineered barriers for waste containment. Dr. Benson’s research includes laboratory studies, large-scale field experiments, and computer modeling. He has published more than 300 refereed articles based on his research and has received numerous research awards, including the Ralph Peck Award, the Huber Research Prize, the Alfred Noble Prize, and the Croes Medal (twice), Middlebrooks Award (twice), Collingwood Prize, and Casagrande Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Award of Merit, Ivan Johnson Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Best Practical Paper Award (twice) from ASTM International. Dr. Benson is former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, past President of the ASCE Geo-Institute (GI), past Chair of the GI Geoenvironmental Committee, past Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock, and past Chair of ASTM Committee D18.04 on Hydraulic Properties and Barriers. 

Dr. Benson’s research is funded by a diverse set of sources including industry, local and state government, and federal agencies.  His recent research has been funded primarily by the US Department of Energy through the Office of Environmental Management, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Environmental Research and Education Foundation. Early in his career, Dr. Benson was awarded the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and the Distinguished Young Faculty Award from the US Department of Energy to support his research.