Q&A with John Benda '01, 76th Commander of the USS Constitution



On Wednesday, January 12, Tech Old Timers is hosting a special program featuring WPI alumnus and 76th Commander of the USS Constitution John Benda '01. He’ll lead an interactive discussion and provide a live virtual tour of the USS Constitution. Ahead of the program, we caught up with John for a brief chat. To learn more about John, and to register for the event, visit the event page

How did your WPI experience prepare you for your professional experiences?
I loved my time at WPI—forged great relationships that still last today.  The academic challenges were maybe the most difficult of my life which prepared me well for the pace of becoming a qualified Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy.

Do you remain connected to the WPI community? In what ways? 
I remain close to my friends from Sigma Phi Epsilon and former teammates from the WPI football team; I keep up with how the team is doing every year. Looking forward to the post COVID era so we can have a real 20 year class reunion.

What will attendees be surprised to see or learn on the tour?
The man who designed the ship, Joshua Humphries, in 1795 was way ahead of his time—the ship was using brand new designs as a heavy frigate. We'll go below decks to see some of the design features that help give her the "iron" sides.