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Kenyon Bonner is stepping down as vice provost for student affairs

Bonner talks with two people at a picnic

After nearly two decades at Pitt, Vice Provost Kenyon Bonner will step down from his position to become vice president and chief student affairs officer at the University of Virginia.

Bonner joined Pitt in 2004 as assistant director of residence life and rose through the ranks of the Division of Student Affairs, ultimately becoming vice provost in 2016.

“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. “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.”

In a Nov. 6 letter to the Pitt community, Interim Vice Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Joe McCarthy wrote, “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 has been a familiar face on campus and in Pittsburgh, whether he’s connecting with students at night, celebrating Black Greek letter organizations or leading programs to get underrepresented students to graduation.

“My time at the University of Pittsburgh has been an incredible journey,” Bonner said. “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.”

Bonner oversaw numerous student well-being, success and diversity efforts across many offices and programs — and led students through some of Pitt’s more challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

During his tenure, Bonner helped establish the Office of New Student Programs, PittServes, commuter and transfer student programs, and the Provost Academy summer bridge program. Additionally, he developed Student Affairs’ anti-racism action plan, expanded student mental health services and led efforts in the development of the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

“Undoubtedly, Pitt is in great hands with the dedicated leadership of Chancellor Gabel, a talented and caring Student Affairs team, and the passionate community of Panthers everywhere. I have every confidence that the future holds great promise here,” said Bonner. “As I take on the role of vice president and chief student affairs officer at the University of Virginia, I do so with a sense of gratitude and pride and a commitment to continue making a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of students. I look forward to new challenges and opportunities and will take with me so many experiences and lessons I’ve gained here at Pitt.”


— Donovan Harrell, photography by Aimee Obidzinski