By Amanda Alfanos, Web Editor
With a mace in hand, medallion around his neck and a Bible near, President Robert Henry said he felt well-charged to serve as the 17th president of OCU.
“We’ll build our house, and chop our wood and make our garden grow,” he said at his installation ceremony hosted April 6 in Abe Lemons Arena in Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center. The ceremony was part of a weeklong celebration themed “Make Our Garden Grow.”
The presidential search committee hired Henry in December 2009 to assume the position. He previously served as a chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit. His first day in office was July 1, 2010.
A traditional inaugural component is presenting the university’s new leader with challenges to meet while in office, said Jane Jayroe, trustee and master of ceremonies. Patricia Tucker, 1966 graduate, said she wouldn’t have missed the ceremony because she attends as many university events as she can.
“Henry will make our garden grow,” she said. “He has made it grow so much already.”
The following are challenges representatives presented to Henry on behalf of various communities:
“Keep the trust of family at OCU,” said John Riesenberg, Student Government Association president.
Encourage and be cognizant of those who work for the university, said Debbie Bowles, staff council president.
Art LeFrancois, professor of law, advised Henry to always heed responsibilities to those who lead others.
“I charge you with keeping faith with the creativity that is the cornerstone of education,” said Enoch Kelly Haney, artist and former Oklahoma legislator.
Trustee Emmanuel Eden charged Henry to set an example of servant leadership and a high code of conduct.
Glen D. Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, advised Henry to take to heart the responsibility he has in representing students. “Use your voice and your position to advocate for students everywhere,” he said.
Serve as an example of integrity and dedication in placing justice above victory, said Steven W. Taylor, chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
“Build upon the partnerships with this community and great state,” Mayor Mick Cornett said.
Ensure that future generations enjoy the opportunities full of Oklahoma’s ambition, said Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City).
United Methodist Church
“I charge you, Robert Henry, with upholding the tradition of United Methodist scholarship and service,” said Bishop Robert E. Hayes of the Conference of the United Methodist Church at Oklahoma City University.