Class of 2013
Henry S. Bienen, President Emeritus of Northwestern University, has been elected into the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame in an honorary capacity as a member of the Class of 2013, joining four former student-athletes in the Class.
"I'm very pleased to be elected to Northwestern's Athletic Hall of Fame," said Mr. Bienen. "It's a great honor to join the outstanding former Northwestern student-athletes as a member. I enjoyed watching many of them compete during my years as president, and I know the tremendous efforts they all made in order to be successful. So I'm particularly pleased to be in their company in the Athletic Hall of Fame."
Mr. Bienen served as Northwestern's President from 1995-2009, presiding over a period of increased academic prominence, financial strength and athletic success. During his tenure, NU varsity athletics programs won nearly 20 Big Ten championships while capturing five-straight women's lacrosse national titles and five football bowl appearances.
Mr. Bienen's tenure saw extensive construction and upgrades to athletics facilities. Highlighted by a complete renovation to Ryan Field, NU athletics also saw the completion of the state-of-the-art indoor Combe Tennis Center, the Luke Donald Practice Facility and Gleacher Indoor Golf Center, an overhaul of the Sharon J. Drysdale softball field and the construction of Lakeside Field, home to NU's soccer and women's lacrosse programs.
"Henry Bienen was instrumental in the revival of Northwestern's athletic program in the 1990s through 2009, and I'm proud to have worked closely with him on those efforts," said Patrick G. Ryan, Chairman Emeritus of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees. "Under his leadership, Northwestern significantly improved its athletic facilities, added scholarships for student-athletes and provided additional support for our coaches and athletic department staff. In addition, he served as a leader in college athletics in both the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA, so his influence extends beyond Northwestern and continues today."
Early in Mr. Bienen's presidency, Northwestern football won back-to-back Big Ten championships and earned trips to the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. Over his entire career, men's swimming won five individual national championships and wrestling won three individual national titles. Also, NU women's tennis experienced the first 11 years of its current run of 15-straight seasons with a conference crown.
"The strength of the Northwestern University athletic program today was built on the foundation that President Emeritus Henry Bienen helped create during his 14 remarkably successful years as president," said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. "He understood clearly the importance to the University of competing at the highest level, both academically and athletically, and he provided the leadership and resources to make that happen. To a great extent, we are following the path that he laid out nearly 20 years ago, and our present-day success would not have been possible without his vision for Northwestern."
Academically, Northwestern consistently led the Big Ten and ranked among the leaders nationally in graduation rates and other academic measures. Most notably, football won the AFCA Academic Achievement award for having the nation's top Graduation Success Rate five times under Mr. Bienen. NU added additional wins in 2010 and 2012 to bring its current total to seven.
"Our successes today in the classroom, in the community and on the field are the direct result of Henry Bienen's tremendous leadership and vision during his tenure as our President," Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips said. "President Bienen's belief that a strong department of athletics and recreation is a vital component of the University's success created a foundation on which our student-athletes and coaches have been able to compete at the highest levels. His induction into the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame is richly deserved."
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 and an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Northwestern University in 2009. 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.