Congratulations on starting a new semester. My name is Kenyon Bonner, and I am proud to serve as your new Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer. I am excited to introduce myself to the University of Virginia community and look forward to seeing and meeting you on Grounds.
As a first-generation college student, my motivation to serve in a university community is grounded in my own college experience. As an undergraduate student-athlete, I arrived on campus holding on to beliefs and thoughts I had learned throughout my young unexamined life. College was my opportunity to question my personal beliefs, broaden my perspectives, and challenge my prejudices. For me, attending college helped me evolve in my understanding of myself, other people, and our world. As a first-generation Black student from Cleveland, I did not always feel like I belonged. This was unfortunate and the impetus to serve in higher education. I have learned that each of you bring your own life story to UVA. It is a privilege to serve the UVA community and help you learn, grow, and optimistically, encourage your understanding of who you are, what you enjoy doing with your talents and interests, and how your experience at UVA can lead to meaningful work and service.
As I begin a new journey at UVA, I am excited to move onto Grounds, meet students, staff, faculty, and Charlottesville neighbors for the first time. I am also excited to introduce my family to the Charlottesville and UVA community over the course of the semester. I will make time to listen, learn, and understand our history, traditions, culture, and collective ambitions. My top priority is to engage with the student body to understand how best to support your needs, interests, and success. Our talented and dedicated Student Affairs team will continue to foster and support a preeminent UVA experience that values student self-governance and supports students’ belonging, well-being, development, and academic excellence. Our collective commitment, compassion, and collaboration will be essential to our success.
I am excited to announce that Cedric Rucker, Interim Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, has accepted my offer to continue his interim appointment through the next academic year. Cedric’s continued service and valued perspectives will allow me adequate time to better understand our student experience and the needs of the Division of Student Affairs. In sum, this will help inform our national recruitment, search, and selection of UVA’s next Dean of Students. The search will begin this fall and will include student representatives.
There is no doubt in my mind we can achieve a higher level of excellence as an institution of learning, service, and leadership if we continue to work together. I look forward to meeting you soon on Grounds! If you see me, please do not hesitate to say hello, offer advice on acclimating to Charlottesville, and tell me about your experience thus far.
Take care of each other and yourself, and please reach out to me anytime at [email protected].
Kenyon R. Bonner
He | Him | His
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
E [email protected]