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John "Benny" Benevento
Originally from Massachusetts, John Benevento, known as "Benny," worked at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1979 until his retirement in 1997. He worked in the electronics shop, where he helped scientists implement their needs for research equipment, eventually becoming Electronic Shop Supervisor. He also helped develop the Poker Flat Research Range. He received his electrical engineering training by correspondence course aboard the USS Roanoke while serving in the U.S. Navy. Before coming to Fairbanks, he worked for NASA, including on Wallops Island, Virginia where he worked alongside some of the first astronauts in the U.S. space program, including “Sam the Monkey,” one the first animals in space. In 1994, Benny utilized his talents and understanding of electronics to restore the James E. Barrack Memorial Carillon located in the Great Hall on the UAF campus, and also helped maintain the chimes and sound system of the clock tower in Golden Heart Plaza in downtown Fairbanks that was installed in 1990 by the Fairbanks Rotary Club. In 2000, he participated in the morning storytelling session at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and shared some of his memories of working there.