Kenyon Bonner named VP, Chief Student Affairs Officer at the University of Virginia

Kenyon Bonner, a vice provost at the University of Pittsburgh, will join the University of Virginia as vice president and chief student affairs officer in January 2024. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University of Virginia Communications)

Kenyon Bonner, vice provost for student affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the New Pittsburgh Courier’s “Men of Excellence” Class of 2017, will step down from his position to become vice president and chief student affairs officer at the University of Virginia, the Courier has learned.

Joseph J. McCarthy, Pitt’s Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, made the announcement on Monday, Nov. 6, via the university’s website.

“In his time at Pitt, which began in 2004 as assistant director of residence life, Kenyon has certainly left his mark on all areas impacting a student’s time with us, and I want to recognize his outstanding service and leadership in these areas,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy described Bonner’s ability to serve not only as director of student life, but as associate dean of students simultaneously for seven years. In August 2021, McCarthy said Bonner was named vice provost for student affairs, “which included appointment to the chancellor’s senior leadership team—growing the reach of his efforts across Pitt’s campuses and opening collaboration on student success across the Pitt community.”

McCarthy added: “Over the years, and above all, Kenyon has demonstrated a focused commitment to incorporating well-being and belongingness, as well as principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, into both classroom and social settings to help all students make the most of their college experience.”

Bonner created the Student Affairs’ anti-racism action plan, augmented student mental health services and led efforts on the development of the new Campus Wellness and Recreation Center, McCarthy noted. Bonner established the Office of New Student Programs, the Office of Inclusion and Belonging, and the Center for Financial Education and Wellness. He also helped to form the Provost Academy summer bridge program to bolster the new student experience on campus, McCarthy said.

OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY INC. — Pitt Vice Provost of Student Affairs Kenyon Bonner, Bobby Shoes, and Larry Meadows, in this file photo from 2021 on the Pitt campus.

A member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Bonner worked with students and alumni to create the National Pan-Hellenic Council plot, which was unveiled in the fall of 2021.

“I am delighted to welcome Kenyon Bonner to UVA,” said University of Virginia President Jim Ryan, in an article posted to the university’s UVA Today publication from Nov. 6. “Kenyon brings a wealth of experience to the role, along with a deep knowledge about, and commitment to, student development. He’s as kind and genuine as he is talented, and I’ve been impressed by his appreciation for what makes UVA special. I’m grateful to the search committee for their outstanding work in this successful search, and I’m eager for our community to meet Kenyon.”

UVA Today reported that Bonner’s first day on the job is Jan. 16, 2024.

UVA Today also reported that Margaret Grundy Noland, who serves as vice president and chief of staff for the president and led the search for UVA’s next student affairs chief, said Bonner’s candidacy stood out for multiple reasons. “Kenyon has the right combination of experience, character and heart to be a fantastic vice president and chief student affairs officer for UVA. He is no stranger to the current challenges and opportunities facing universities and our students, he is deeply committed to student success, and he has a wealth of personal and professional experiences that will serve him well in this critical role. I can’t wait to welcome him to the university community.”

“My time at the University of Pittsburgh has been an incredible journey,” Bonner told the online publication Pittwire. “I am immensely grateful for the unwavering support and tremendous opportunities I’ve had here over nearly 20 years, and I leave with a deep and profound appreciation for the incredible faculty, staff, colleagues and the tens of thousands of students I’ve had the privilege to work alongside.”

KENYON BONNER, A MEMBER OF THE COURIER’S MEN OF EXCELLENCE CLASS OF 2017

Bonner was cheered by his fellow Pitt colleagues as his name was called to receive the Courier’s “Men of Excellence” award on Dec. 13, 2017, at the Fairmont Hotel, Downtown. Bonner has been the recipient of many other awards, including the Washington and Jefferson College Waltersdorf Award for Innovation Leadership, and Pitt’s Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University.

Bonner is co-chair of the United Way Impact Cabinet, and he sits on the board of directors for the Southwestern Pa. chapter of the American Red Cross and Family House Pittsburgh. Bonner, who is a Cleveland native, and his wife, Sylvana, have four children: Ijhad, Grant, Jasmine and Chase.

“I want to extend thanks to Kenyon for his nearly two decades of service to Pitt’s students, as well as to personally express my sincere appreciation to him for being a great partner to me through my transition and into these early days as chancellor,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Joan Gabel, first reported by Pittwire. “I know the university community joins me in wishing him nothing but the very best in his new endeavor. We will miss his strategic counsel, good cheer and unwavering commitment to our students.”

 

 

 

 

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