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Kenyon Bonner selected as new vice president and chief student affairs officer

Bonner will join the University Jan. 16

VPSA duties include advocating for students and leading around 300 University employees across multiple divisions.
VPSA duties include advocating for students and leading around 300 University employees across multiple divisions.

Kenyon Bonner, the current vice provost for student affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, will join the University this January as the new vice president and chief student affairs officer, per an announcement sent Tuesday from the University. Bonner replaces Interim VPSA Christopher Holstege, who took over in the role after Robyn Hadley left in July. 

Bonner has spent 20 years working at Pitt, rising up from his starting position as associate director of residence life. He has also served as vice provost and dean of students, entering his current role August 2021.

At the University, VPSA duties include advocating for students and leading around 300 University employees in divisions including the Dean of Students, Department of Student Health and Wellness, Office of African American Affairs and Housing and Residence Life. 

In an email to the University community, Interim Dean of Students Cedric Rucker and Holstege said Bonner has demonstrated a history of building strong relationships with students.

“Bonner will bring significant experience in the student affairs profession, both broad and deep, along with a long-term commitment to educating the whole student,” the email read.

Rucker will stay in his role until the end of the academic year — a search for his replacement is already underway. Holstege will return to his role as Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness immediately after Bonner’s arrival. 

Bonner’s appointment follows high turnover in the Office of Student Affairs. Hadley, for example, only served in the role for two years — she did not publicly share reasons for her exit or next steps. Rucker’s replacement will mark the fourth person to serve as Dean of Students since 2021. 

Senior leadership positions have seen heightened rates of turnover in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic. After Groves left the University, previous Provost Liz Magill departed to serve as the ninth president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Bonner attended Washington and Jefferson College and also holds a Master of Education from Kent State University and a Doctor of Education in higher event management from the University of Pennsylvania. At Pitt, he helped create the Office of New Student Programs and developed an anti-racism action plan for Student Affairs along with mental health services.

In an interview with U.Va. Today, Bonner said he is excited to enter the University community and invest in students.

“The U.Va. student experience is already very special,” Bonner said. “I’m looking forward to knowing more about the areas of strength, and of course areas where we have an opportunity to improve the way students experience U.Va.”

Bonner officially enters the role Jan. 16.


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