Charles F. Bonser


Bicentennial Medal (2020)
IU Foundation President's Medallion (2002)
IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2001)
Titled Professor (1992)
Ameritech Professor Emeritus of Economic Development
Indiana University Bloomington
Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion (1988)
Meeting of Academic Planning Committee, Co-Convenors
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


Dr. Charles F. Bonser received his undergraduate education at Bowling Green State University in 1954. He studied business administration at Indiana University, completing his Master's Degree in 1961 and his Doctorate in 1965.

Dr. Bonser first joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Business in 1961 as a Lecturer. Following a period of government service from 1963-65, he rejoined Indiana University as Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He was appointed Associate Dean of the I.U. School of Business in 1969, and promoted to Full Professor in 1971. In the fall of 1971, Dr. Bonser was appointed Special Assistant to the President of Indiana University. In this assignment he prepared the plan for the new School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), and was appointed the first Dean of the School in 1972. During Dr. Bonser's 17 year tenure as Dean, SPEA developed into one of the largest and most highly rated public affairs schools in the U.S. The School currently has about 200 faculty and staff and approximately 3,000 students on five campuses of Indiana University.

In July of 1988, he was appointed Director for the Institute for Development Strategies, SPEA.

In March of 1992, Dr. Bonser was also appointed Ameritech Professor of Economic Development, an endowed chair awarded by the Ameritech Foundation to Indiana University. He retired from full-time academic service at the end of 1998, and now makes his home, with his wife Nancy, in both Bloomington, Indiana, and Sanibel Island, Florida.

In May 2000, Dr. Bonser was elected Chairman of the newly organized Transatlantic Consortium for Public Policy Analysis and Education. This is an association of over 25 U.S. and European Union University and government training programs focusing on public policy/public administration. The purpose of the consortium is to develop and facilitate cooperative education and research programs between participating European and American Schools, Institutes, and research centers. In April 2002, he was named the recipient of the Indiana University Distinguished Service Award. He still continues an active professional life at the University and elsewhere, and was called back to part-time duty with Indiana University in July, 2002, to serve as the Director of the Arts Administration Graduate Program, when the program became part of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Dr. Bonser has held a variety of governmental and public service posts during his career. Among the most prominent are: Director of the Indiana State Tax and Financing Policy Commission, Director of the Intergovernmental Personnel Program for the State of Indiana, Chairman of the Great Lakes Intergovernmental Personnel Council, and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Otis Bowen. He has been consultant/advisor to the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and the Offices of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of the State of Indiana. His experience in consultation and advising extends to the international arena where he has worked with USAID and several foreign governments. In addition, he has initiated and directed educational programs in Venezuela, Egypt, Nigeria, Spain, France, The Netherlands, The United Arab Emirates, and Great Britain.

Dr. Bonser has served extensively in several professional associations. He was President of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs, President of the National Public Affairs Honorary, Pi Alpha Alpha, and Vice-President of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration. He has received special awards for his public service, including two commendations from the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and special recognition through a joint resolution of the Indiana General Assembly. He received a Presidential Citation from the President of Indiana University upon his retirement from the Deanship of SPEA in 1988. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and completed six years on its Board of Trustees in 1997. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the NSF International, a public health standards developer and third party certifier, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1984.

For his distinguished contributions to Indiana University, he was presented the Bicentennial Medal