Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

John P. "Jack" Henderson Recognized for a Generation of Student Service

Jack Henderson

Dean Henderson joined the College in 1971 as he was completing his Ph.D. in educational administration at Ohio State. He quickly established a reputation for integrity and attentiveness to students. Associate Dean Greg Travalio remembers that Jack "read admissions files with extraordinary care, sometimes literally spending hours over a single file to make sure the applicant was treated fairly. When Jack left at night, usually long after normal working hours, he always had a stack of admissions files with him." He went well beyond the requirements of his job to find financial aid for especially needy students and find temporary funds to support students through emergency situations. With Jack's help, the College created a Loan Repayment Assistance Program to provide grants to students who accepted work in public interest positions.

During Jack's tenure, the College more than doubled the size of its graduating classes. He was instrumental in implementing the faculty-designed affirmative action plan which was the beginning of the College's diversity program. The number of women moved from four in the graduating class of 1971 to nearly half of the 220-member class by 1992. The number of minority students rose significantly during the same period. Jack's success in changing the composition of the class was the result of innovative recruiting initiatives and financial assistance programs.

Jack was a driving force in the creation of the Columbus Bar Association's Minority Clerkship Program in 1987. Minority attorneys were under-represented in large Columbus, Ohio firms and government agencies. Working with Nort Webster '52, Ben Zox '62, Guy Reese II '81, and other bar association leaders, Jack helped design a program that placed minority law students in summer clerkships with the city's largest law firms and public-sector employers. In the intervening years, nearly 300 Columbus minority students benefited from the program, and it became a model for bar associations nationwide.

Will Kohn and Jack Henderson
Will Kohn '76 and Jack Henderson

Despite Jack's responsibility for admissions, continuing legal education, building coordination, staff personnel, various student services, and ultimately for the building expansion and renovation project, he was never too busy to talk with a student, whether it was about admissions, financial aid, or Jack's passion, basketball. His advice was always thoughtful and sound. Jack's kindness and sensitivity to others was long remembered by many students--among them, a grateful Will Kohn '76 who created the John P. Henderson Scholarship in 2001.

Jack was highly regarded by the students, deans, and the law faculty he served. Upon Jack's retirement in 1992, Professor Fink spoke for many when he said, "all that he does [is] selfless, thorough, and dedicated to only one goal--what is enduringly best for the College of Law."

Although retired, Jack continues to participate in a number of College activities. He encourages today's students to "pursue your education with the same diligence as did Tom Brokaw's 'Greatest Generation' following World War II. Those men and women, through their productivity, had a huge impact on the growth of our economy and did so much to improve our standard of living and quality of life. And, finally, challenge 'the system' when we become too complacent."

Jack received the University's Failer Award at the 43rd Annual Alumni Awards Banquet on Friday, October 25 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus. For more information about the John P. Henderson Scholarship, contact Lisa Everett at (614) 688-8104.