Berendzen is an American academic and university president. In 1974, he joined the faculty of American University, Washington, D.C., as a professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He later became the university provost, the chief academic officer. In 1980 Berendzen became AU’s eleventh president.
He also is Director of NASA’s Space Grant Consortium for Washington, D.C., and he is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In February 2006, Dr. Berendzen announced that in August 2006 he would retire as a full-time faculty member. He then will become Professor Emeritus and continue as Director of NASA’s Space Grant Consortium for Washington, D.C.