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February 5, 2015

Why they give: Kenyon Bonner

Through the Faculty and Staff Campaign, University employees can help Pitt thrive by contributing to any of more than 2,000 scholarship, fellowship and professorship funds. Payroll deductions are available, and donors of $1,000 or more are recognized through the Chancellor’s Circle program.

Annually, nearly 3,000 Pitt employees take part in the campaign, from every part of the University. Their backgrounds, and reasons for giving, are as diverse as the Pitt community.

The University Times is profiling some Faculty and Staff Campaign donors.


bonner_kkbKenyon Bonner made his first gift to Pitt’s Faculty and Staff Campaign last year, supporting Equipoise, the organization for African-American faculty and staff. But that gift was 10 years in the making.

Bonner had spent a decade at the University as associate dean of students and director of student life until he was promoted last month to interim vice provost and interim dean of students.

But it wasn’t until he attended Equipoise’s annual unity brunch and heard several people, including Kathy Humphrey (then vice provost and dean of students, now senior vice chancellor for engagement and chief of staff) speak about how close the organization was to fulfilling its fundraising goals that he was inspired to step forward.

“It was at that point that I was compelled to assist in reaching the goal and helping other students at Pitt,” Bonner says.

“Working in higher education for many years, understanding how the University works, I know the support from alumni, friends, other sources goes a long way to helping the University reach its goals.”

Equipoise, he says, raises money for students to buy books or supplement their tuition costs. But textbooks can be expensive, and securing all the required textbooks can be an unanticipated burden for students.

Bonner hopes that his initial gift — giving that he plans to continue, he says — will be a help “in providing a great experience for the students at the University.”

—Marty Levine