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Larry G. Benedict, dean for student affairs at Johns Hopkins University's main campus since 1992, has been named MIT's dean for student life, effective August 21.
"Larry Benedict is a talented and accomplished professional," President Charles M. Vest said. "He brings an energy and enthusiasm for students that will serve us well. He received highest marks from the search committee and the students and staff who met him during the search process. He is a great addition to the Institute community."
Dean Benedict joins Professor Robert P. Redwine, named dean of undergraduate education in May, in the reorganized Dean's Office. They replace Metcalfe Professor of Writing Rosalind H. Williams and Margaret R. Bates, both of whom stepped down after the spring semester. Dean Redwine's appointment is effective in July. Both will report to Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow.
"I am delighted that Larry will be joining Bob Redwine to form an exceptional team to support our initiatives in the area of student life and learning," Chancellor Bacow said. "During Larry's tenure, we will complete implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning. We will construct a new undergraduate residence, two new graduate residences, and a new sports and fitness center. We will implement our new residence system and begin student exchanges under the Cambridge-MIT Institute. Clearly, there is much work to be done. Together with Bob Redwine, Larry Benedict will provide us with outstanding leadership as we take on these new challenges."
Dr. Benedict said, "I'm thrilled to be joining MIT at this point in its history where a major commitment is being made to improve student life. I'm very excited about the many new initiatives either underway or about to be undertaken, as well as by the many challenges facing us in the area of student life.
"I am especially excited to have the opportunity to work with Professor Redwine as my close colleague, as well as with President Vest, Chancellor Bacow, other members of the administration and faculty, as we move forward in concert with our students to improve the quality of the student experience at MIT. I am most anxious to get started."
Professor Redwine said, "I'm delighted that we were able to attract a person with such outstanding personal and professional qualifications. I look forward to working with Dean Benedict for many years to provide the best possible experience for MIT's undergraduates."
Dean Benedict, a Worcester native and a 1967 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has spent his entire career in student affairs at his alma mater and at the University of Southern Maine and Johns Hopkins.
During his last year of graduate school at UMass, the dean of students hired him to develop a student telephone survey. He created a system that is still in place today. Dean Benedict had solved his financial situation -- and launched a career in student affairs. "I never considered a job in this field," said Dr. Benedict, who spent the next 18 years at UMass working his way up to associate vice chancellor for student affairs. "I didn't even know these kinds of jobs existed. I guess you could say I came in through the back door."
He left UMass to become vice president for student affairs at the University of Southern Maine in Portland in 1988 and joined Johns Hopkins four years later in his present position. At Johns Hopkins, he had responsibility for admissions, financial aid, athletics, housing, dining, student accounts, campus ministries, counseling, Greek life and numerous other functions. Students presented awards to him for contributions to student life and student activities on three occasions.
"He comes to us with absolutely the highest recommendations from students and colleagues at Hopkins, and from his peers in the student affairs professional community," said Chancellor Bacow. Dean Benedict, who majored in history as an undergraduate, received the MEd in 1970 and the EdD in 1973, both from UMass.
The search committee, chaired by Associate Provost/Professor Phillip L. Clay, included Professors Borivoje Mikic, Dick K.P. Yue and Williams, Executive Vice President John R. Curry, Vice President for Human Resources Laura Avakian, graduate student Luis A. Ortiz and undergraduate Christopher R. Rezek.
"Dr. Benedict was selected from a great pool of candidates. In the end he rose to the top of our list because he had done the job of building on existing strengths, injecting new energy, designing creative programs and bringing leadership to the student life division," Professor Clay said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 12, 2000.