Kenyon Bonner, Vice Provost and Dean of Students, plays a pivotal role in helping the University achieve one of its fundamental goals—educating the whole student—through a variety of programs and services. The areas under his purview in the Division of Student Affairs include the following: Student Life, Residence Life, University Counseling Center, PittServes (student volunteering opportunities), Parent and Family Resources, Student Health Service, Student Conduct, Career Center, Disability Resources and Services, Campus Recreation, Pitt Arts (free attendance to various museums, lectures, and concerts), and Cross-Cultural and Leadership Development.
Bonner joined the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh in 2004 as Assistant Director of Residence Life. Prior to his January 2015 appointment as Interim Vice Provost and Dean of Students (he gained permanent appointment to the position in March 2016), Bonner served for seven years as Associate Dean of Students and as the Director of Student Life for 11 years. In these roles, he was responsible for managing a comprehensive educational, social, and experiential learning program for Pitt students that includes New Student Orientation and First-Year Experience programs; the Pitt Program Council; student governments; the Student Organization Resource Center (supporting 600+ student organizations); The Pitt News and WPTS Radio (student-run newspaper and radio); Parent and Family Resources; and student union operations, programs, and services. During that time span, Bonner was also instrumental in developing the University’s RISE Mentoring Program.
In 2018, Bonner earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania; conjointly, he holds a Master of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling from Kent State University. In 2013, he received the Chancellor’s Award for Staff for Excellence in Service to the University, the highest honor that Pitt bestows on staff.
Bonner’s undergraduate college experience helped to shape his career trajectory. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Philosophy from Washington and Jefferson College, where he balanced his roles as a student-athlete and student leader. An Edward Moffat Weyer Scholar for his achievements in the Department of Philosophy, Bonner was the inaugural president of the Washington and Jefferson College Black Student Union (BSU); and, as a member of the men’s basketball team, Bonner helped his team claim three consecutive conference championships. Bonner’s personal challenge of constantly switching gears between academics, athletics, and student leadership further strengthened his ability to understand, listen to, and counsel future students in his various roles at Pitt.
In his spare time, Bonner trains for 10K and half-marathon competitions and participates in community service. He serves both on the board of the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania and on the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania Impact Cabinet. A proud Cleveland, Ohio, native, Bonner now lives in McCandless, Pennsylvania with his wife Sylvana and their four children.