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Northwestern remembers Bill Banis, former leader of Student Affairs

Oversaw the creation and expansion of several departments and services to benefit students during his 16-year career at Northwestern

William “Bill” Banis, former Northwestern vice president for Student Affairs, passed away on Jan. 24 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was 75.

With a career spanning more than four decades, Banis began his Northwestern tenure in 1994, first working with University Career Services, now known as Northwestern Career Advancement, before taking the helm of the Division of Student Affairs for 10 years. He retired in 2011.

Bill Banis
Bill Banis

In more than 16 years at Northwestern, he oversaw the creation of many departments that still exist today in one form or another, including the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution; Asian/Asian American Student Affairs; Hispanic/Latino Student Affairs; Multicultural Student Affairs; the Life Skills Center as part of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Orientation and Parent Programs; and the LGBT Resource Center.

“Bill was tireless in centralizing services, centering the needs of students, building a continued commitment to assessment, developing a network of employers and supporting the development of our staff,” said Mark Presnell, executive director of Northwestern Career Services. “He will be missed by many.”

Banis expanded capacity in Services for Students with Disabilities, CAPS, Career Services, the University Chaplain’s office, University housing and assessment efforts. He made vast enhancements with pre-orientation programs, Wildcat Welcome, community service, multicultural education, staff development and health education.

Student facilities that were built or upgraded under his leadership include Slivka Hall, Searle Hall, University Career Services, five dining halls, campus coffee shops and convenience stores, The Great Room and first floor of Norris University Center.

Banis authored several books on career-related topics and was elected to the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Academy of Fellows in 1999. After his retirement, he remained heavily involved with NACE and in the development of technology to support career services.  

He is survived by his wife Lynn, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as many extended family members and friends. Celebrations of life will be held at later dates in Virginia Beach and Pittsburgh. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Braddock Carnegie Library Association.