Jan. 24, 2011
|Name: Peter Bennitt|
|Institution: Lehigh University|
|Sports: Cross Country/Track and Field|
|Graduation Year: 1994|
|Undergraduate Degrees: BS - Mechanical Engineering; BA - Economics|
|Did You Know?|
Bennitt and his teammates would occasionally take early morning runs with then-Lehigh President Dr. Peter Likins, who was an early champion of the Patriot League and supportive of student-athletes.
Peter Bennitt competed in fall, winter and spring during his academic career at Lehigh University as a member of the school's cross country and track and field teams.
He finished runner-up in the men's mile at the 1994 Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championship to earn all-Patriot League laurels. In addition, Bennitt was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in cross country (1993), indoor track and field (1993-94) and outdoor track and field (1993-94). Bennitt competed in the middle-distance events (mile, 1,500 and 3,000 meters) as a member of the Lehigh track squad.
Q: What factors helped in your decision to attend Lehigh?
A: I knew that I wanted to study engineering as well as compete at a Division I level. It quickly became clear to me that Lehigh provided a combination of top-notch academics and athletics. While visiting Lehigh, John Covert, the head cross country and track and field coach at the time, stressed that the opportunity existed to succeed academically and athletically and that the two were not conflicting.
Q: Who were your sports idols growing up and why?
A: Growing up just outside of Pittsburgh in the late 1970s and 1980s, I was and still am a die-hard Steelers fan. Those teams have often been characterized by hard work and strong fundamentals. I identified with these values and tried to apply them to my running career, especially during high-mileage training through the long winters in Western and Eastern Pennsylvania.
Q: What was your proudest athletic accomplishment(s) at Lehigh?
A: It was probably finishing second in the mile race at the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championship in 1994. I came from near last place with less than a quarter mile to go and passed everyone except Dan Browne of Army.
I am also proud of anchoring the winning 4x800-meter relay race at the 1994 indoor track and field dual meet with Lafayette. The 4x800 relay is one of the last events, the meet was close and Lafayette is consistently our biggest rival.
Q: What was your proudest academic accomplishment at Lehigh?
A: Completing a dual degree in engineering and economics while still competing three seasons throughout the academic year.
Q: How were you able to balance the demands in the classroom with the demands of being an athlete?
A: I think that Lehigh and the other Patriot League schools effectively stress a balance between academics and athletics. As an individual, I had to develop many skills such as time management and critical thinking. I also took advantage of certain resources such as teammates and friends who were successfully managing similar demands, alumni who shared their experiences and a supportive faculty and athletic department.
Q: How did your experience as a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?
A: Many of the characteristics and skills that helped me succeed as a student-athlete have supported my career and personal life after college. At Lehigh, I learned that I could accomplish many goals through perseverance and determination. As an athlete, I encountered several setbacks due to injuries. I learned to improve my training and avoid similar problems. Similarly, after college I have tried to treat obstacles as learning experiences.
Q: If you could go back to college and compete one more time, where would it be and against whom?
A: I was fortunate to have a diverse range of competitive experiences. Some of the best were the competitive dual meets with Lafayette and other Patriot League teams. We had strong rivalries but we also had a chance to become friendly with many of our counterparts at other schools.
Q: If you had to offer current student-athletes some words of wisdom what would they be?
A: I would stress that being a student-athlete in the Patriot League presents a unique opportunity. They should be committed to academic and athletic success but they should realize that those successes are temporary. The same commitment can be applied to many areas after graduation and will help them succeed for the rest of their lives.
Q: Do you still follow Lehigh athletics?
A: Yes. Although I do not make it back as often as I would like, the Lehigh athletic department does a great job of keeping alums informed.
Q: Looking back, what does it mean to you to have been a Patriot League student-athlete?
A: I am proud of my accomplishments as a student-athlete and believe that the experience was valuable in many ways. Many of my teammates were among my closest friends and we still enjoy reminiscing about our time together.
Q: Can you talk about your professional career?
A: After graduating, I worked as an engineer for two years in Pittsburgh. I then went to New York University and earned an MBA. After NYU, I went to work as an investment banker at JP Morgan. After JP Morgan, I joined a new asset management firm and helped to grow the firm over seven years. I am currently a Director in the capital markets group at Knight Capital Group in Greenwich, Connecticut.