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Meet the Henrys

August 12, 2004

degree at Vanderbilt University.

At graduate school I realized more fully the quality of education I received at OBU. I was accustomed to thinking critically and being challenged by professors. My OBU education is valuable both for the academic strength and for the spiritual support I received. It has enabled me to reach out and explore ideas and the world around me, and to do so eagerly, without fear. I first embraced my love for languages and foreign cultures at OBU. I cannot imagine my life without travel and the exploration of language and culture. At OBU, I encountered incredibly talented and supportive language professors who helped open my eyes to all that study of language and culture could offer. My life would not be the same without them.

Jenifer Henry, '95, works as a consultant with the Hay Group, a global human resource consulting firm. She is based in New York City. Her role is to help support organizations in adapting the best ways to develop, manage, and grow the employees of their company.


The Son and Professor of Philosophy

When I was a child, OBU engendered in me a kind of awe-filled reverence for its hallowed halls and distinguished scholars. When I graduated from high school, OBU provided a perfect next step for me, one that enabled me to understand something of a legacy that was mine. At OBU, I encountered professors whose vision of God, understanding of human nature, and commitment to morally significant life far surpassed my own in breadth and depth. It did not take long to find my sense of what I might become reshaped by admiration of the community I encountered on Bison Hill, where an uncommon commitment to truth sustained a Christian faithfulness to which I aspired.

I was blessed to have parents who encouraged my curiosity. I asked questions and explored the world, seeking answers to all the wondrous puzzles that beset children. I quickly learned, following the model of mom and dad, to turn to books for insight. I cannot remember a time when I was not surrounded by books and magazines on all kinds of subjects, nor a time when reading was not the chief form of leisure activity in my family. In such an environment, it was impossible not to value education.

At another level, though not articulated quite in this way, my parents exemplified for us what St. Anselm describes as fides quarens intellectum, faith seeking understanding. I do not recall sensing as a child any wariness in my parents about asking questions. To wonder about life in all its dimensions simply expressed a natural response to the grandeur of God's good creation. In this way, my folks made it possible for me later in life to see learning as an act wholly consistent with my faith.

It's difficult for me to say, outside of immediate family, who else has especially shaped my life. However, I can think of persons whose influence looms large, even out of proportion with the time I spent with them. For one example, I recall an occasion in Washington, D.C., when I made my way home, struggling with more bags of groceries than I could easily carry. I encountered a homeless man who offered to help me "bear my burden." I was sure he was going to relieve me permanently of at least a few of my items. When we arrived at the door to my building, not only did he not make off with the goods, he declined to accept anything in return for his help beyond a word of appreciation. Though I do not know his name, he is a living reminder to me of the importance of believing the best and not the worst about others. He also reminds me of the extent to which I myself am a "charity case," in need of help from those I least expect by way of God's surprising divine economy. Has he impacted my life the most? Perhaps not, but he certainly made an abiding impression upon me.

Doug, '92, serves as an assistant professor of philosophy in the Honors College at Baylor University. He also is the director of Baylor's Institute for Faith and Learning. "It is sheer joy to help my students understand something of a heritage that is theirs unbeknownst to them, and to see them come to discern the development of a distinctive tradition of texts, ideas, institutions, and virtues that profoundly have shaped and still shape everything subsequent." He is married to Michele Howard Henry, '91, assistant professor of music education at Baylor.


The Mother and University Administrator

My roots are in Oklahoma and OBU. My maternal grandfather was a bi-vocational pastor and attended several seminars and conferences at OBU. Granddad spoke with great reverence and respect about the university. Following my junior year in high school, I attended a summer journalism workshop at OBU. That experience settled my decision to attend OBU.

Joe and I met and married as OBU students. Although Joe and I are the first members of our immediate families to graduate from college, our families valued hard work and personal accountability. A strong work ethic is deeply ingrained in us both. For us, this ethic evolved into an intense desire to pursue higher education.

OBU prepared me by strong academic programs, caring peers, and impressive, often inspiring, faculty members. For me, the value of an OBU liberal arts degree is the focus on learning to learn and on a basic background which prepared me to change and adapt skills along the way. Life is not static and neither is education for life; I learned that at OBU.

In our personal and family times with our children, we encouraged their curiosity, imagination, and sense of personal responsibility. OBU was the perfect environment for furthering their educational and spiritual growth. They had great experiences as peers and faculty members encouraged and inspired a pursuit of inquiry and investment of self in service. 

I have been inspired by the friends and donors who undergird OBU through their resources. Their gifts to OBU often are a result of a lifetime of hard work and careful savings. Through their investment in OBU's Kingdom work, these individuals provide support to equip generations of young people for service in a complex world. These folks honor God through their faith in His work in the lives of our current and future students. So yes, I am inspired  by their sacrifice, faith, obedience, and example.

Kay, '69, serves as assistant vice president for development at OBU. She has also served in other capacities at OBU, including director of alumni, and a member of the alumni board of directors and the board of trustees. She has experience in preschool ministry and continues to write preschool Sunday School material for Lifeway Christian Resources.


The Father and Engineer

I first began classes at OBU after my discharge from the Air Force in 1963. I left OBU and pursued a job on the Air Force Eastern Test Range as a down range electronics technician. In 1970, I returned to complete a degree in biology and secondary education with a minor in chemistry.

Aside from broadening my factual horizons, my OBU experience added some maturity to my thinking processes. I would have to say that my habit already was to ask questions. Some of my friends were wont to say, "What's the purpose in it?" in a teasing fashion. That inquiring outlook was fortified by Jim Hurley's classes in biology, and his later statement, "If we want better answers, we must learn to ask better questions." 

The Christian message is the only thing. I believe that if a person has not honesty and honor, he has nothing of value. That honesty and honor emanate from the love exemplified by Christ, who is truly our root. I dote on my children, Douglas and Jenifer, and I am gratified for who they are, but I don't take credit for their success as Christian citizens. If I have provided a backdrop, a stable launching pad, for them, then I have been a successful parent. 

Joe, '70, has worked for Baker-Hughes Centrilift since 1975. He currently serves as a project engineer. Baker-Hughes Centrilift is the leading supplier of down hole oil well pumping equipment. Joe's main role is proposing engineering projects in a variety of disciplines related to company products, and once approved, to guide the projects to completion.