Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

ECU History Professor Receives Notable NEH Public Scholar Award

Only 28 Scholars Named Nationwide

August 3, 2017

By Lacey L. Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Todd Bennett

East Carolina University Associate Professor of History Dr. M. Todd Bennett has won a 2017-18 NEH Public Scholar Award, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced recently.


“Nationwide, only 28 scholars were named Public Scholars by the NEH this year. I am extremely honored – if not a little bit surprised – to be among such a select group,” said Bennett.


NEH's Public Scholar Program supports ‘well-researched books in the humanities aimed at a broad public audience.’ That the Endowment would consider my ongoing book project worthy of such support is gratifying, to say the least.”


Bennett will receive $50,400 in support of his book project, “Imagination Unlimited: Howard Hughes, the CIA and the Untold Story Behind Their Hunt for a Sunken Soviet Submarine.”


In the book, Bennett explores intelligence oversight and accountability through a narrative account of the covert 1974 CIA operation to use Hughes’s ship Glomar Explorer to raise a sunken Soviet submarine.

The NEH Public Scholar program, now in its third year, aims to make academic writing and research more accessible and popular to a broad readership. Grant winners are a varied group of famous and not-so-famous writers studying a range of subjects from wiretapping to the Aztecs.


About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at For a press release announcing the entire slate of the NEH’s 2017-18 awards, visit