Physics Professor Bob Henson’s 50 years of service to UMSL recognized on campus, in Post-Dispatch

by | Sep 28, 2017

Chancellor Tom George presented him with a photo collage of UMSL images in recognition of his long tenure at Wednesday's State of the University Address.
Chancellor Tom George, Bob Henson

Chancellor Tom George, left, presents a photo collage of UMSL images from every season to Physics Professor Bob Henson in recognition of his 50 years of service at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Kristin Sobolik has just finished calling out the names of University of Missouri–St. Louis faculty and staff members who marked 25 years of service in 2017.

As the applause died down and a moment of quiet fell over the crowd during Wednesday’s State of the University Address at the J.C. Penney Auditorium, Sobolik, the provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, indicated she had one more milestone she wanted to acknowledge.

“Twenty-five years … times two,” Sobolik said.

Brief wonder gave way to more clapping – with many audience members rising from their seats – as Bob Henson, a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, walked onto the stage to accept a framed collage of campus photos from every season from Chancellor Tom George.

Henson, 82, had received recognition from an even wider audience beyond the campus community when he was featured in a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his unmatched run of service.

“It hasn’t seemed like 50 years to me. Fairly often I think, ‘Have I really been here that long?’” he joked to reporter Ashley Jost.

Henson’s time at UMSL overlapped with the tenures of all 11 of the school’s chancellors.

He arrived on campus at a time when the university was getting ready to graduate its first class of students in 1967.

He’s seen the student body multiply and the campus expand and evolve over the past five decades so that it hardly resembles the place that hired him after a few years as an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota.

There have been “growing pains” over the years as the university developed from its humble beginnings, but Henson always has maintained affection for his students and a focus on one of the university’s core missions.

“UMSL has a very important purpose in this area,” Henson told the Post-Dispatch. “People can’t afford financially to go away from school, but they can work their way through school here. That’s a valuable purpose.”

To learn more about Henson and his continued work in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, read the story in the Post-Dispatch.

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