After working with his grandfather and finishing high school, Ben III received an assistantship in 1987 to teach pottery at Pfeiffer University as well as study business. Two years later Ben III decided to pursue further interest in the arts by attending East Carolina University. His studies at ECU created a different facet to his work. Research in form and color began to influence his unique evolving style as a potter. Other media also played a role in the surface treatment of the clay. In 1993, Ben III graduated with a BFA in ceramics at ECU with honors including Outstanding Senior Awards in both the School of Arts and the Ceramics Department. He then returned home to Seagrove where his interest in clay was born.