Boyer accepts fourth term as Dean of College, holding longest tenureBy Julia Morse
John Boyer has accepted a fourth term as Dean of the College, surpassing the milestone he set in 2002 as the first person in the history of the College to serve three terms as Dean. Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History and the College, will begin his fourth term on July 1, 2007.
Holding the longest tenure in the position, a privilege he calls “incredible,” Boyer was first appointed Dean in 1992. The longest tenure of any of Boyer’s predecessors was that of Chauncey Boucher, who served nine years, from 1926 to 1935.
In a statement released by President Zimmer and Provost Richard Saller, they wrote of Boyer: “During the past 15 years as Dean, he has worked tirelessly to improve the College. Under his leadership, the College has reaffirmed in an ongoing way the value of the uniquely intense and broad-based education we offer.”
While serving as Dean of the College, Boyer has amassed a wealth of accomplishments, including increasing endowment for faculty chairs, student scholarship funds, foreign-language grants and improved alumni relationships.
Boyer also has been instrumental in adding new international programs, increasing the College graduation rate and supporting ongoing progress in the Office of College Admissions, including diversity, with the most diverse class in the College’s history entering this fall.
“I’m incredibly proud of the progress we continue to make in admissions and enrollment,” he said. “Our students were always smart Ð and they keep getting smarter.”
In Zimmer and Saller’s statement, they noted that the number of students who study abroad has tripled in recent years, and that the College also has added new student research opportunities.
They also noted Boyer’s focus on student life in and out of classrooms. “He has invested substantially in facilities and student social and cultural activities, providing a dramatically improved total environment in which our education takes place,” they wrote.
Boyer said, “One of the most unique things about our College is that we, as a whole, constantly encourage our students to be creative throughout their lives at Chicago. I have always put an important focus on strengthening student life. We want our students to take advantage of all of the resources that this great university has available.”
Boyer credits the quality of faculty and students for making his job as Dean of the College as exciting as it is, he said. “It is a great privilege to be Dean of the College at the University of Chicago,” Boyer said. “This community is full of strong, creative and thoughtful individuals who care deeply about the importance of liberal education.”
Boyer joined the University faculty in 1975, after receiving his A.M. and Ph.D. from the University in 1969 and 1975, respectively.
Prior to his appointment as Dean of the College in 1992, Boyer served as Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of the Social Sciences Division from 1987 to 1992. From 1992 to 1993, he also served as Acting Dean of the Social Sciences Division.
He also served as Chairman of the Committee on European Studies, the Western Civilization teaching staff, and the Council on Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences. He is an expert in modern Central European history, particularly on 19th-century Austria.
“John’s leadership will be especially important to us in the coming years as we consider new initiatives in the College and work to communicate to a yet broader audience the exceptional educational experience of our undergraduates,” wrote Zimmer and Saller in the statement.
Echoed Boyer, “I am delighted to be able to work with Bob Zimmer to continue working to strengthen the College. The wonderful balance that occurs here is that the University strengthens the College, and the College strengthens the University.”