C. Eugene Bennett
C. Eugene Bennett served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force before completing his undergraduate and master’s degrees at West Virginia University. He then earned his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Michigan, and in 1956 he went to work for DuPont. There he met Aaron Martin and was introduced to gas chromatography. In 1959 Martin and Bennett decided to begin manufacturing gas chromatographs, and together they approached Frank Martinez, Jr., a former glassblower for DuPont who had started his own glass-making business, K&M Scientific Glassware, the year before.
Martinez agreed to a partnership and with Bennett and Martin formed F&M Scientific Corporation in 1959. Bennett was a natural salesman and headed F&M’s sales and marketing division until the company was sold to Hewlett Packard in 1965. Bennett stayed with Hewlett Packard until 1968, when he left to earn an M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s famed Wharton School.
In 1994 he and his wife, Edna, established the C. Eugene Bennett Distinguished Chair in Chemistry at West Virginia University. They endowed the C. Eugene Bennett and Edna P. Bennett Careers for Chemists Program, which encourages young people to become interested in chemistry as a career and to help chemistry graduates pursue nontraditional career paths. They also endowed the Edna Peterson Bennett Chair for Prevention Research in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University.