John Boyer

  • Dean of the College
    Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History and the College


John W. Boyer was appointed to a fifth term as Dean of the University’s College in 2012. During his tenure as Dean of the College, Boyer has strengthened the College curriculum and the College’s admissions program, and created the new Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. He has also worked to create many new programs for College students involving foreign study, internships and foreign language instruction in order to expand student research opportunities and to strengthen resources for student life.

A specialist in the history of the Habsburg Empire and Central Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Dean Boyer received his Ph.D. From the University of Chicago in 1975 and joined the faculty in the same year. He has written three books in the field of Austrian political and social history, and was awarded the Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, by the Republic of Austria in 2004 in recognition of his scholarly work on the history of the Habsburg Empire. In 2006 he received the Austrian State Prize for Modern History, and has been, since 2005, a Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna in 2015.

Much of Boyer’s recent scholarship has focused on the history of liberal arts higher education, and the University of Chicago in particular. He has written a series of monographs on various aspects of the history of the College and the University, culminating in The University of Chicago: A History (University of Chicago Press, 2015 forthcoming). An advocate for liberal arts education, Boyer regularly teaches Western Civilization in the College.