We Care and We Can Help

Stuart HenryProfessor Stuart Henry has been Director of SDSU’s School of Public Affairs since 2006. His academic and professional career is highlighted by many achievements including completing a PhD in just three years, four years shy of the standard; authoring 34 books and 120 journal articles in the field of Criminology, Law and Justice; and gaining the respect and admiration of countless students and colleagues with whom he has worked over the past 40 years.

What is most incredible is that it took just one sentence to spark what one Wayne State University colleague, 50 years later, referred to as the “blaze of fire whose leadership has illuminated horizons for those of us on the interdisciplinary landscape”. Those words came in 1966 when a young and uncertain “lad from South London” was expressing his desire to apply for university despite objection from his father. His mother, Doris Henry, stood strong for Stuart and Higher Education said, “If the boy wants to study, let the boy study!” In that moment he was transformed from a young, working class “lad”, who struggled in school and was unfit for an academic career, to a man capable of anything he put his mind to.

Doris’s unwavering belief in Stuart is something he will never forget and when Doris passed away at the age of 92, there was no question as to how he would honor her legacy. Doris spent her life working hard for minimum wage, and saving every pound, shilling, and pence that she earned. This simple act carved an indelible impression on Stuart who applied this principle to his eventual academic career where he viewed each challenge as an opportunity to build upon the next. Both Doris and Stuart never lost focus and, in the end, a waitress who could barely provide for her family and a young man at the bottom of his class would accomplish more than anyone had thought possible.

Stuart admired his mother’s strength and sought that out in a spouse. Stuart and his wife, Lee, have been married for the past 28 years and as Stuart says “Lee’s greatest asset in our relationship is that she is never impressed by my hype or BS, nor does she accept a word I say, just because I say it…I can be very convincing!” When Doris passed away in 2014, she left all that she had to Stuart and he used this as an opportunity to give to other students what his mother had given to him…hope and possibility. Stuart and Lee used this gift to create an endowment for students in the School of Public Affairs so that Doris’s legacy will live on, not only through the life of her son, but through the lives of countless students for years to come.

Stuart is passionate about making a difference in the lives of everyone he encounters. He approaches each interaction, whether it is with a colleague, student, or friend, as an opportunity to engage, listen, support, and help. The photo above is a favorite of Stuart and his mum. He lights up when recalling the memory of an ordinary day, on an ordinary street, meeting an ordinary dog, with the one of the most extraordinary women he knows.