Oklahoma City University News
OCU Names Judge Robert H. Henry as 17th President
Judge Robert H. Henry, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, was today named to be the 17th President and CEO of Oklahoma City University by the Board of Trustees. He will succeed Tom J. McDaniel, who will retire in July as president and assume a new role as Chancellor. Oklahoma City University is a private Methodist-affiliated university with a student body of 3,700 graduate and undergraduate students.
A comprehensive national search was conducted. Forty-three applications and an additional ten nominations were reviewed by the fifteen member search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, and president of the Student Government Association.
“Judge Henry brings national and international visibility to the University,” said Ron Norick, trustee and chair of the search committee. “In addition to Judge Henry’s exceptional legal and public service career, he is an acclaimed foreign relations scholar and international humanitarian. We are so pleased to have Judge Henry serve as the next president of OCU,” said Norick. “We had an exceptionally large and well-qualified, and diverse pool of candidates. Judge Henry is the right person to lead the university at this time in our 105-year history. We could not have found a better leader than Robert Henry. He is an exceptional scholar, teacher and leader.”
Judge Henry said, “The opportunity to return to Oklahoma City University as its President and CEO is an exciting challenge that my wife, Jan, and I wholeheartedly embrace. The future of Oklahoma City is bright and OCU is an important part of that future. The University has great faculty and continues to attract gifted students from around the world, including my son Josh, who is a theatre major. So on a personal and professional level, Jan and I look forward to joining the OCU family that includes our friends Tom and Brenda McDaniel.”
Board of Trustee President William F. Shdeed, said, “Robert Henry was the top choice at each stage of the search process which began in August, and our Board was enthusiastic in selecting him to be our next President and CEO. Judge Henry has a full appreciation of the remarkable achievements made under President McDaniel’s nine-year tenure. We believe he can lead OCU to the next level of national and international prominence in private higher education. OCU is posed for greatness.”
McDaniel said, “Robert Henry is an accomplished and proven leader with a heart to serve. Stepping away from a lifetime appointment on the federal bench underscores his commitment to Oklahoma City University and his belief in its future. Brenda and I are committed to achieving an orderly transition and beyond that to supporting Judge Henry and his wife Jan. They will be a great team to lead OCU.”
Henry has a long standing relationship with OCU. He served as Dean of the OCU School of Law and tenured Professor of Law from 1991-1994. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses at OCU and has been a frequent guest lecturer. His son, Josh, is a gifted actor and theatre major at Oklahoma City University, currently appearing in OCU’s A Christmas Carol.
Henry received his Bachelors of Arts and Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane letters from the University of Tulsa and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma City University. He is an alumni member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Henry is married to Dr. Jan Ralls Henry, an Oklahoma City dentist, who will serve as first lady of Oklahoma City University. In addition to Josh, Henry has a daughter, Rachel, who attends Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. President and Dr. Henry will reside in Wilson House on the OCU campus.
Henry has been a life-time advocate for common and higher education. He co-authored the legislation that established the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM), established the Sen. Penny Williams Lecture in Arts and Sciences at OSSM, and established the Henry Family Lecture Series at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and was the co-founder of the Oklahoma Symposium.
Henry has served on the Court of Appeals for fifteen years. Prior to his appointment to the Court by President William J. Clinton, Henry served as Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma. He served ten years as a state representative in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he was Chair of the Majority Caucus, and Chair of the Committees on the Judiciary, Common Education, and Appropriations and Budget Committee - General Government and Judiciary.
In addition to teaching at OCU, Henry also taught at the University of Oklahoma Honors College, Oxford Program; University of Oklahoma College of Law, served as Distinguished Judge in Residence, University of Tulsa College of Law, and taught Business Law at Oklahoma Baptist University. He was a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Gregory’s College. He practiced law in Shawnee, Oklahoma for ten years.
Henry is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the American Bar Association, serving as Chair of the Middle East and North Africa Council, board member of the Rule of Law Initiative, and was a board member of the Committee for the Africa Law Initiative Council. He is a member of the American Society of International Law, Advisory Board Committee, Judicial Outreach Program, Institute of International Law in Public Affairs. Henry is also a member of the American Law Institute, the Oklahoma Bar Association, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law and the William J. Holloway, Jr. American Inn of the Court, Master of the Court. He has served on the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group, the Oklahoma Constitutional Revision Committee, and the National Association of Attorneys General (Committees on Agricultural Law, Civil Rights, and Supreme Court Advocacy).
Henry serves on the Committee on International Judicial Relations of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which he chaired from July 2005 – May 2008. He has also served on the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He is also a Director and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Tenth Judicial Circuit’s Historical Society Committee, and a member of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals Lawyer’s Advisory Committee. He serves on the Board of Directors of the VERA Institute of Justice in New York; the Foundation for the Future, based in Amman, Jordan; and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation; on the Board of Visitors of the University of Oklahoma International Programs Center and Honors College; and on the Board of Advisors of the Jasmine Moran Foundation Children’s Museum and the Columbia University National State Attorneys General Program.
Supplemental information regarding Judge Robert Henry
The recipient of many honors and awards, Henry was inducted into the 2008 Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He was named “The Honored One,” Oklahoma Sovereignty Symposium, Supreme Court of Oklahoma, 2008; received Certificate of Appreciation, US Department of State, 2008 and the Certificate of Gratitude, Council of Judges of the Russian Federation and Justice for substantial contribution to the development of relations between American and Russian Judges. Henry received the Distinguished Alumni award, University of Oklahoma Arts & Sciences, 2004; the E.T. Dunlap Award for Public Service, Southeastern Oklahoma University, 1998; Humanitarian of the Year Award, National Conference of Community and Justice, 1996. In 1993, Henry received the Myrtle Wreath Award for Humanitarianism, Oklahoma City Chapter of Hadassah; Conservationist of the Year, Oklahoma Wildlife Federation, 1989; Oklahoma Human Rights Award, Oklahoma Human Rights Commission, 1988; and Outstanding Young Oklahoman, Oklahoma Jaycees, 1988; the A. C. Hamlin Award, National Black Caucus of State Legislatures, 1984.
Henry has authored book chapters for Civil Rights Movement, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF OKLAHOMA HISTORY AND CULTURE; The Rehnquist Court: A Schwartzian Critique, in The Rehnquist Court; Farewell to the Old Order? and The Play and The Players, in the Burger Court: Counter-Revolution or Confirmation? He serves as lead narrator and author for the OETA arts and culture series Gallery feature “The People’s Art” and “The People’s Gallery” which received “Best of the Best” (program production) and also named 2008’s finest news and information program for 2008 by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). In addition, Henry has authored scores of law review articles, scholarly journal articles and other published works. Henry serves as outside evaluator, reader, and columnist for World Literature Today Magazine, University of Oklahoma Press, Oklahoma Today, and Oklahoma Gazette.
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