Joel A. Benedict was born March 2, 1909, to a pioneering Arizona family at Camp Verde. He earned his bachelor's and master's degree at Tempe Teacher's College/Arizona State Teacher's College (former names of Arizona State University), and his doctorate at Stanford University.
In 1946, Joel became an assistant professor at Arizona State College and was appointed the first director of Audiovisual Services. In that capacity, he established the Central Arizona Film Cooperative, whose collection of films, filmstrips, slides and materials were housed on campus and loaned to schools in the region through a member co-op. He also played an instrumental role in assisting with the development of KAET-TV (Channel 8), the public television station on campus. From 1947-1949 he filmed Sun Devil football games, and invented a machine to process motion picture film quickly so that the team could view footage of the first quarters at half time.
He was elected president of the Arizona Association for Audiovisual Education in 1948, 1949, 1950, and originator and editor of the association's newsletter, and Audio Visual News. As early as 1958, he was teaching courses by television - lon g before "distance learning" or "distance education" became mainstream.
In 1962, Dr. Benedict assisted Indiana University, through a contract with the U.S. Department of State, in establishing an audiovisual program in Nigeria. He and his wife, Irene also had conducted a number of summer study tours for teachers to overseas countries as well as many workshops for business, industrial, educational, and professional groups.
He was appointed director of Media Research and Development in 1974, and later retired in 1978 after 32 years of outstanding service to Arizona State University.
During Arizona State University's Centennial year in 1985, Dr. Benedict was awarded the Medallion of Merit, which honored 100 individuals who have made significant contributions to public schooling in Arizona during the past 100 years. In addition, the College of Education designated him the first recipient of its Hall of Fame Award in 1990.
In 1988, Joel and Irene Benedict established the Visual Literacy Collection at Arizona State University in which to preserve multimedia materials for students and scholars. It was later renamed the Benedict Visual Literacy Collection in honor of the Benedicts' contribution and personal commitment to the University in 1994.
Throughout his prolific career as an audiovisual pioneer, Joel Benedict developed a national reputation for university film and audiovisual work. He produced and published numerous pieces of educational materials, copyrighting 93 of them in the name of the university. Many of these sound filmstrips, motion pictures, books and devices have been distributed throughout the United States and over 20 foreign countries.