Henry S. Bienen
President Emeritus

Henry S. Bienen is the President Emeritus of Northwestern University. He was elected the 15th president of Northwestern University on June 13, 1994, took office on January 1, 1995 and retired as president on August 31, 2009. A nationally recognized leader in higher education, Mr. Bienen, 70, led Northwestern to increased academic prominence, financial strength and athletic success. During his tenure, Northwestern faculty and students received numerous academic awards, the endowment quintupled, applications for admission skyrocketed and the University's reputation grew both nationally and internationally.

Highlights of Mr. Bienen's presidency include:

  • Applications for admission to Northwestern skyrocketed. Undergraduate applications for fall 1995, the year before Bienen came, totaled just fewer than 13,000. For the class entering in fall 2009, Northwestern this year received more than 25,000 applications, or almost double that of 13 years ago.
  • Average SAT scores for entering freshmen improved from 1272 (fall 1996) to 1442 (fall 2009), a gain of 170 points.
  • The number of National Merit Scholars increased substantially and was the third highest in the nation in 2009.
  • The University placed a major emphasis on creating opportunities for undergraduate research, as well as expanded programs in the schools and faculty labs.
  • Research funding from outside sources grew from $173 million to approximately $439 million.
  • Northwestern's endowment more than quintupled from $1.4 billion in 1995 to more than $7 billion.
  • The University built major new scientific research buildings on both campuses, new classroom and faculty office buildings, and two undergraduate residence halls; completely revamped and upgraded Northwestern's athletic facilities; and made significant improvements to many other academic buildings.
  • Northwestern students have received three Rhodes scholarships, numerous Marshall and Gates Cambridge Scholarships and other competitive awards.
  • The number of undergraduates studying abroad increased from only 4 percent to more than 30 percent.
  • Athletic teams won nearly 20 Big Ten championships, including three in football and an unprecedented 11 straight in women's tennis. In addition, Northwestern captured five straight NCAA national championships in women's lacrosse and Northwestern's football team went to five post-season bowl games.
  • The University successfully completed a $1.55 billion fundraising campaign.

Mr. Bienen was one of the first three university presidents awarded the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award for innovative leadership in higher education. The honor carries a $500,000 award for the institution and recognizes leaders of institutions of higher education who have demonstrated an abiding commitment to liberal arts and who have initiated and supported curricular innovations, including development of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs that aim to bridge the gulf between the theoretical and the practical. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Bienen is a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving on the executive committee and chairing the nominating and governance committee. He is a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and serves on its executive committee.

He is also chairman of the board of trustees of Ithaka Harbors, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the academic community take advantage of information and networking technologies.

Other board and trustee memberships include: Rasmussen College Inc., where he is vice chairman of the board of directors, SPSS, Inc., Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and the executive committee of Steppenwolf Theatre. Mr. Bienen is a past chair of the executive committee of the Association of American Universities and a member of the American Political Science Association and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Prior to becoming Northwestern's president, Mr. Bienen was the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. A political scientist with interests in political and economic development, comparative politics, civil-military relations, and U.S. foreign policy, Mr. Bienen began his association with Princeton University in 1966 as an assistant professor. He was named associate professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton in 1969 and professor of politics and international affairs in 1972. He was appointed the William Stewart Tod Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton in 1981 and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in 1985.

Mr. Bienen has been a visiting professor at Makerere College in Kampala, Uganda (1963-65), at University College in Nairobi (1968-69), at Columbia University (1971-72), and at the University of Ibadan (1972-73). He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (1976-77), a Polsky Fellow at the Aspen Institute (1982-83), and a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton (1984-85).

Mr. Bienen has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of State (1972-88), the National Security Council (1978-79), the Agency for International Development (1980-81), the Central Intelligence Agency (1982-88), and the World Bank (1981-89). He served as a member of the senior review panel of the CIA in the late 1980s.

He also has been a consultant to Hambrecht and Quist Investment Company, the Boeing Corporation, and the Carnegie Corporation as well as to the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

He served as a member of the Committee on Roles of Academic Health Centers in the 21st Century at the National Academies' Institute of Medicine and on the board of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (Internet 2) from 1998 to 2002.

Mr. Bienen received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Northwestern University in 2009. He received the University of Chicago Professional Achievement Alumni Award in 2000 and the 2008 Niagara Peace & Dialogue Award from the Niagara Foundation in 2008. Mr. Bienen received a bachelor's degree with honors from Cornell University in 1960 and a master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1961. He was awarded a PhD from Chicago in 1966. In 2008 Northwestern's Board of Trustees honored Mr. Bienen and his wife, Leigh, a senior lecturer at Northwestern University School of Law, by naming the University's School of Music the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

Mr. and Mrs. Bienen have three daughters, five grandsons, and one granddaughter.

September 2009