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Douglas Joseph "Doug" Bennet, Jr. (born June 23, 1938) is a former national political official and college president. He was the 15th president of Wesleyan University, located in Middletown, Connecticut, from 1995 to 2007. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Clinton Administration (1993-1995), was the President and CEO of National Public Radio from 1983-1993, and ran the U.S. Agency for International Development under President Jimmy Carter from 1979-1981.[1]


Early life and education

Born in Orange, New Jersey to Douglas Joseph Bennet, Sr. and Phoebe Benedict Bennet, Bennet grew up in Lyme, Connecticut, and attended the local public schools. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1959, an M.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960, and a doctorate in history from Harvard University in 1968.


In 1956 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Connecticut General Assembly's House of Representatives, losing to Horace Seely-Brown, Jr.[2] He was an assistant to Ambassador Chester Bowles in the 1960s.[3] In 1970, he announced his candidacy for the Democratic primary for the Second Congressional seat in Connecticut, which was vacated by the death of Congressman William St. Onge.[4]

He later served on the staffs of Missouri Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, Minnesota Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, and Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff.[5][6] In 1977, Bennet became Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations.[6]

Bennet succeeded John J. Gilligan as the head of the Agency for International Development in 1979, where he served for two years.[7][8] After heading a private research institute, he was named head of NPR in 1983.[3] In 1993, President Bill Clinton named Bennet as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, where he served until 1994.[9][10]

In April 1995, Bennet succeeded William M. Chace, becoming the 15th president of Wesleyan University.[11] On May 4, 2006, Bennet announced that he would step down as president following the 2006-2007 academic year. The last several years of his presidency were contentious, with opposition by many in the student body. Some students believed Bennet's fundraising priorities conflicted with the interests and needs of the student body, and the university's mission of education. A student movement came to a head in December 2004, when hundreds of students surrounded the administrative building South College, where Bennet's office was located, demanding that he address student concerns.[12] On March 26, 2007, Wesleyan's Board of Trustees announced that Michael S. Roth would succeed Bennet as president for the 2007-2008 academic year.[13]


In 1994, Bennet received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Wesleyan; in 2008, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Trinity College.


On June 27, 1959, Bennet married Susanne Klejman of Washington, D.C. They have 3 children, Michael, James and Halina Anne. They divorced in 1995. He married Midge Bowen Ramsey in 1996.

In 2006, his son James was named the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic Monthly. In 2009, his son Michael was chosen by Governor of Colorado Bill Ritter to represent Colorado in the United States Senate, replacing Ken Salazar, who was appointed as Secretary of the Interior in the Obama Administration.[14]


  1. ^ Boo, Katherine (2007-01-15). "Expectations - Can the students who became a symbol of failed reform be rescued?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-01-03.  
  2. ^ Parke, Richard H. (1956-11-07). "Bush Re-Elected in Connecticut". The New York Times: p. 1.  
  3. ^ a b Molotsky, Irvin (1983-10-29). "Ex-AID Director Heads Public Radio". The New York Times: p. 55.  
  4. ^ "Lyme Man Will Run". The New York Times: p. 48. 1970-06-11.  
  5. ^ Kneeland, Douglas E. (1972-08-02). "Behind Eagleton's Withdrawal: A Tale of Confusion and Division". The New York Times: p. 1.  
  6. ^ a b "3 State Dept. Appointments Are Ratified". The Washington Post: p. A6. 1977-03-12.  
  7. ^ "Bennet, State Dept. Official, To Head AID". The Washington Post: p. A14. 1979-06-12.  
  8. ^ "Ex-State Dept. Official to Head National Public Radio". Los Angeles Times] date=1983-10-28: p. A2.  
  9. ^ "NPR Names New President". The New York Times: p. C18. 1993-08-19. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  10. ^ "Susan Daggett, Michael Bennet". The New York Times: p. ST7. 1997-10-26. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  11. ^ Sullivan, Ronald (1995-04-04). "New President Of Wesleyan Is an Alumnus". The New York Times: p. B5. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  12. ^ Hall, Katharine (2004-12-10). "Students trap Bennet in office, demand to be heard". Wesleyan Argus. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  13. ^ "Wesleyan University's 16th President". Wesleyan University. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  14. ^ Crummy, Karen (2009-01-02). "Michael Bennet chosen as next Senator". Denver Post. Retrieved 2009-01-02.  
Business positions
Preceded by
Frank Mankiewicz
President and CEO of National Public Radio
Succeeded by
Delano Lewis


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