Lou Benfante graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1969 with a B.A. in History. He graduated magna cum laude with Interdepartmental Honors and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He still serves as a class officer and as a member of his class’ Reunion Committee. Lou has volunteered for the Alumni Admissions Outreach Program, founded the Lehigh Alumni Club of the South Carolina Lowcountry, and is a member of the Lehigh University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was recently presented with a Distinguished Alumni award, which is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus by the university.
Lou’s career included over 40 years as a Supply Chain Management executive with companies such as Milliken, Estee Lauder, Cummins, and finally Hilton Head and Coastal Carolina Hospitals. During his tenure at Cummins, Lou served on the Cummins Diversity Council, the Cummins Worldwide Materials Leadership Council, and the Cummins Worldwide Logistics and Transportation Council. From 1992-2003, he served on the Board Directors of the Charleston chapter of APICS, including one term as its President.
While he was employed as Director of Materials Management for Hilton Head and Coastal Carolina Hospitals, which are owned by Tenet Healthcare, he was a member of the Tenet Materials Management Advisory Committee. During this time he also served the South Carolina Hospital Association as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Society of Hospital’s Materials Management, including one term as President.
After retiring at the end of 2010, Lou joined the all-volunteer Heritage Library where he was finally able to use his History degree. He is presently serving as President of the Library’s Board of Directors and as Chairman of the History Department. He conducts weekly lectures on the history of Hilton Head Island, weekly tours of Fort Mitchel and the Zion Cemetery, and also teaches courses for the University of South Carolina at Beaufort’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and for Lifelong Learning of Hilton Head Island. He has written numerous articles on the history of Hilton Head Island for local publications.
He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Mitchelville Preservation Project, serving as its Education and Research Chairman. Lou is currently a member of the South Carolina Historical Society, Beaufort County Historical Society, Gullah Geechee Consortium of Beaufort County, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Coastal Discovery Museum, Santa Elena Foundation, Italian American Club of Hilton Head Island, the VanLandingham Rotary Club, Beaufort County Heritage Tourism Task Force, and the Greater Island Council.