On Wednesday, March 31 Maryville College Criminal Justice professor Dr. Regina “Gina” Benedict, also known to her students as Dr. B, passed unexpectedly due to natural causes. The college community was notified of her passing via an email from President Coker on April 1 and has since mourned the loss and celebrated the life of this beloved educator, colleague, mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.
According to Dr. Coker’s statement, Dr. Benedict came to MC part-time in 2011 and joined the staff full-time in 2016, teaching criminal justice and sociology courses at the college. She became an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Coordinator for the Criminal Justice program in 2018. Holding a B.A. from Mississippi State University, an M.A. from East Tennessee State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, she also worked to found the MC Criminal Minds organization and served on the Conduct Appeals Board.
On Tuesday, April 6 a memorial service was led at the Center for Campus Ministry by Reverend Anne McKee, in which over 400 members of the community took part, either in-person or virtually.
“Beyond all of [her] visible connections is the invisible web that she wove through every part of her life: the spirit that she brought to every single committee meeting, the enthusiasm that she took to every single softball game, the absolute passion that she demonstrated for her students and for the criminal justice program, which she helped establish,” said Rev. McKee at the April 6 service.
Students, faculty, and staff were able to honor her memory through scripture, music and prayer, with grief for her family but with gratefulness for her life.
The Division of Social Sciences has worked during this time to ensure that students and advisees of Dr. Benedict are able to finish the semester smoothly, with canceled classes for her three courses and multiple opportunities for continued learning for the students enrolled in those courses.
On Sunday, April 25 an additional Celebration of Life will be held on MC campus at the McArthur Pavilion at 2:00 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend and celebrate Dr. Benedict’s life and legacy.