George Henderson, who during his nearly 40-year tenure at the University of Oklahoma received virtually all the top awards and honors bestowed by the university, will be inducted into the Oklahoma African American Hall of Fame in October.
Selection to the hall of fame is made by the NTU Art Association of Oklahoma Inc., a nonprofit organization formed in 1979 to promote an understanding and appreciation of African art, traditions and culture.
The Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame is a unique portrait gallery of local leaders that encourages and fosters professional, social, educational and economic development. Recipients are native Oklahomans or Oklahoma residents for 10 or more years and who have made significant contributions to the local community or the state of Oklahoma.
When Henderson joined the OU faculty in 1967, he became the third African-American faculty member on the Norman campus. The professor emeritus of human relations, education and sociology achieved several other “firsts” during his OU tenure, including selection as the first African-American dean of a degree-granting college on the Norman campus when he was tapped to head the College of Liberal Studies and as the first black professor in the state to occupy an endowed chair when he was appointed S.N. Goldman Professor of Human Relations. Also while at OU, Henderson founded and served as chair of the Department of Human Relations.
Henderson garnered more than 50 university and community awards and honors during his time at OU, including, in 2011, the university’s highest honor, the Doctor of Humane Letters, as well as the David Ross Boyd, Kerr-McGee Presidential, Regents’ and Sylvan N. Goldman professorships. His other OU honors included the Regents’ Superior Teaching Award, OU Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, and UOSA Outstanding Professor Award. In 2010, the Oklahoma City/Norman chapter of the OU Black Alumni Society presented him with a Trailblazer Award for Distinguished Service.
Outside OU, he was recognized with the Oklahoma Foundation of Excellence Medal for Outstanding College and University Professor, C.V. Ramana Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Mental Health of Oklahoma’s Children, State of Oklahoma Black Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education and Oklahoma halls of fame.
Though he holds professor emeritus status, Henderson continues his affiliation with OU, teaching an undergraduate course, Cultural Diversity in Organizations, in the fall and another course, “The History of Racism,” in the spring.
A civil rights scholar and lecturer, Henderson has spoken at cultural diversity workshops throughout the United States and internationally. He has served as consultant to dozens of state and national organizations and authored or co-authored more than 30 books and 50 articles. His latest book is Race and the University: A Memoir, published in 2010. He and his wife, Barbara, are recipients of the 2011 Xenia Institute’s Sam Mathews Social Justice Award.
This year’s Oklahoma African American Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony will be held Oct. 6 in the Jim Thorpe Sports Museum in Oklahoma City.
In addition to the hall of fame, the NTU Art Association provides exhibits, workshops and other programs that promote public interest in African and African-American art to people of all ages and backgrounds. Its name, pronounced “en-too,” is derived from the Bantu word meaning “being” or “essence.” For more information on the organization and the Oct. 6 ceremony, please visit www.ntuartokc.org/