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Staff Biographies

MMUF Director Armando Bengochea (left) and Associate Director Lee Bynum

Armando Bengochea became Program Officer and Director of the MMUF program in July 2012, and has served as Senior Program Officer of HIgher Learning since 2019.  He has played a role in the campus MMUF programs at Brown University and Connecticut College since 1994. 

After completing his undergraduate education with an independent major in social and political philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Bengochea earned a PhD in Politics at Princeton University, where he wrote a political philosophy dissertation on Tocqueville.  He served for 20 years as an undergraduate academic dean at Brown University, where he was also responsible for monitoring the academic progress of Latino students across all four classes. When he left Brown in 2006, Dr. Bengochea was dean of freshman studies and associate dean of the college.

In 2006 Dr. Bengochea was appointed dean of the college and senior diversity officer at Connecticut College. In that role he was the chief academic support, student affairs, and diversity officer of the college. His many accomplishments at Connecticut College included collaborating with the chief academic officer of the institution to effect a rapid diversification of the faculty.  

Beyond directing all aspects of the MMUF program, including the many graduate initiatives administered by the Social Science Research Council and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Dr. Bengochea oversees dissertation writing and completion grants, postdoctoral grants, and early-career faculty support grants at various Research I institutions.  He also oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking to historically black colleges and universities and to tribal colleges and universities.


Lee Bynum became Program Associate and Associate Director of the MMUF program in August 2012, and Senior Program Associate in 2016.  Prior to assuming this role, he served as Program Associate for Scholarly Communications at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Before joining the Foundation in 2011, Mr. Bynum served as the Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, where he was responsible for the administration of the Latino/a, Asian American, Native American, and comparative ethnic studies programs.   He also spent a year as a visiting scholar at Caritas College in Hong Kong.  In addition, Mr. Bynum has been active with a number of New York City-based nonprofits, having served on the boards of the BLK Projek and Diaspora Community Services and as the founding artistic director of the Harmony Theatre Company.

His research on African-American theatre, classical music, and dance have been published by the university presses of Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, New York University, University College Cork, and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, as well as Salem Press, Sage Publications, and Taylor and Francis.  Mr. Bynum received his BA and MA in African-American history from Columbia University, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

At the Foundation, Mr. Bynum also administers grants to historically black colleges and universities and tribal colleges, as well as to diversity programs at liberal arts colleges and research universities.