​Whitaker named as interim provost

Kevin W. Whitaker, The University of Alabama’s associate provost for academic affairs, will take over as interim provost this summer, UA President Judy Bonner announced in an email Wednesday.

“Dr. Whitaker’s leadership skills, experience at The University of Alabama, and his collaborative and analytical approach to decision making will prove helpful to Dr. Bell as he forms his administrative team,” said Bonner.

Whitaker will take over this summer after current provost Joe Benson retires from his 37-year career at the Capstone.

Whitaker began his time at the Capstone as an assistant professor of aerospace engineering in 1987. From there, he would hold various other leadership positions including associate professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics and associate dean for academic programs in UA’s College of Engineering. Whitaker was named as associate provost for academic affairs last July.

“I am both honored and humbled to accept the challenges as UA’s interim provost,” Whitaker said in a UA release. “To work with our outstanding administrators and faculty and staff for the good of our students is a responsibility I take very seriously. And with Dr. Bell being recommended as our next president, I look forward with great excitement to the transition period in front of us.”

Whitaker earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute in 1980 and is a two-time graduate of Texas A&M, having earned his master’s degree in 1982 and his doctoral degree in 1986. He is also the recipient of the Outstanding Aerospace Engineering Faculty Member and the 2007 T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership Award.

Benson will retire later this summer after nearly 40 years at The University of Alabama. In 1978 he came to the University as an assistant professor of geology, with promotions to associate professor and professor to follow. From 1990-1998 he was chair of that department before being promoted to associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for the next three years. Other positions held at the Capstone include senior associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, vice provost and vice president for research.

“Please also join me in thanking Dr. Benson for his close to 40 years of tremendous dedication to this institution and for his calm and effective leadership,” Bonner said in an email announcement. “We wish him all the best in his retirement.”

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