The University of Chicago Magazine

February 1997


College admissions gets a new face

Enrollment VP Michael Behnke

Michael Behnke, dean of admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been appointed vice president and associate dean of the College for enrollment, President Hugo F. Sonnenschein announced in January.

Although he'll officially start work in his new post--which is also a new position at the U of C--on July 1, Behnke will be a frequent visitor to the Hyde Park campus in the intervening months, President Sonnenschein says. "Michael will play a key role in enabling us to make the extraordinary education of our College accessible to more of the very best students," Sonnenschein said. "He has a deep appreciation of the special character of the College." Dean of the College John Boyer echoes Sonnenschein's assessment, calling Behnke "a person who understands the special quality of our students and the special educational values that the College has always advocated and represented."

Before joining MIT in 1985, Behnke--a 1965 graduate of Amherst College who has a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and who spent several years as a Peace Corps teacher in Sierra Leone--was dean of undergraduate admissions at Tufts University. From 1971 to 1976, he was associate dean of admissions and dean of freshmen at Amherst.

His new job is "a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone in my field," Behnke told the campus newspaper, the University of Chicago Chronicle, in January. "To be part of strengthening the College in order to ensure the future greatness of the University is an honor....Doing it in a way that will maintain the special character of the educational experience at Chicago will be a challenge, but one that I believe can be met."

A former trustee of the College Entrance Examination Board, Behnke is vice chair of the board's Guidance and Admissions Assembly, as well as an adviser on admission to higher education for the National Governors' Association. Behnke is also a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors.

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