A Message From Interim Provost Joseph J. McCarthy: Kenyon Bonner

November 6, 2023

Dear Pitt Community, 

After nearly 20 years of advocating for students and the student experience at the University of Pittsburgh, Kenyon Bonner has notified me that he will step down from his role as vice provost for student affairs in December 2023 to become vice president and chief student affairs officer at the University of Virginia. The University of Virginia’s unique student self-governance, Honor System, and Academical Village will pose new and wonderful opportunities for him.

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. 

Kenyon’s involvement in the student environment of the University has included a little more than a decade as director of student life, during which he simultaneously served as associate dean of students for seven of those years. He also served as interim vice provost and dean of students before ultimately securing the permanent appointment in 2016. In August 2021, he 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. 

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. 

A few noteworthy accomplishments include creating the Student Affairs’ anti-racism action plan, augmenting student mental health services and leading efforts on the development of the new Campus Wellness and Recreation Center. Kenyon established the Office of New Student Programs, the Office of Inclusion and Belonging, PittServes, commuter and transfer student programs, 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. 

Kenyon was key in shaping the RISE Mentoring Program, designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of Pitt students, and served as its program director for several years. In addition, he worked with students and alumni to create the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) plot.

In his role as co-chair of the Year of Discourse and Dialogue steering committee, Kenyon helps to lead efforts for this academic year’s initiative. In service to the broader Pittsburgh community, he is co-chair of the United Way Impact Cabinet, and he sits on the board of directors for the Southwestern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross and Family House Pittsburgh.

Kenyon’s exceptional efforts have been recognized with the Washington and Jefferson College Waltersdorf Award for Innovation Leadership, the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Men of Excellence award, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University.

As he continues his work at Pitt through the end of the fall 2023 term, please join me in thanking Kenyon for his impactful leadership and expressing congratulations and best wishes in his new role. 

A search committee will be formed in the time ahead to identify his successor.


Joseph J. McCarthy

Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Pittsburgh


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