Author Profile

Henry Bienen | President Emeritus, Northwestern University

Current Position and Past Experience
Henry Bienen is President Emeritus of Northwestern University; he was elected Northwestern’s 15th president in 1994, taking office in 1995 and serving until 2009. Bienen currently sits as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Rasumussen College.

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.

Education, Honors and Achievements
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.

Personal Details and Community Involvement
Mr. and Mrs. Bienen have three daughters, five grandsons, and one granddaughter. 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.