U.S. Senator Robert F. Bennett earned the respect of his colleagues and the reputation as a lawmaker who offered creative and common-sense solutions to issues important to both Utahns and the nation. As a member of the Republican leadership team, Bennett served as counsel to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, advising him on legislative strategy and policy priorities.
Bennett got his start in politics by managing his father's U.S. Senate reelection campaign in 1962. Wallace F. Bennett was a U.S. Senator from 1951 to 1974. It was this experience that would later inspire Bennett to seek public office.
Bennett used his strong leadership skills and lessons learned from working as a staffer on Capitol Hill to become a successful entrepreneur. His most notable business success was his position as chief executive officer of Franklin International Institute, now known as Franklin Covey. Under Bennett's leadership, the business grew from just four employees to more than 1,000 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 1992, Bennett ran a successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. He served as a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee and a member of the distinguished Joint Economic Committee. He also served as the ranking Republican on the Senate Rules Committee.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Bennett worked to balance fiscal discipline in government while representing the needs of Utah in the distribution of federal funds. Bennett also represents the interests of the West as the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water and a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Senator Bennett graduated from the University of Utah in 1957 with a bachelor's in political science and served as the student body president. In 2005, Bennett was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University's commencement. He was an effective advocate for the University. Bennett was instrumental in securing critical funding for the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the John A. Moran Eye Center and for energy research and high-end computer modeling.
After his passing in May 2016, the Bennett family established the Robert F. Bennett Endowment within the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah. The endowment awards scholarships to Hinckley interns serving legislative internships in Washington D.C.
CSBS is now working with the Department of Political Science and the Hinckley Institute of Politics to create an endowed chair in Bennett's honor. For more information on how you can help, click here.