Jan. 4, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 7

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    Henderson is headed to Oxford

    Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    With less than 15 minutes left on the clock, varsity basketball captain Brad Henderson unexpectedly arrived on the sidelines of the Maroons’ last home game of Fall Quarter. Henderson was supposed to be interviewing for a Rhodes Scholarship.

    Brad Henderson, fourth-year in the College, greets members of the media the morning after he learned he received a Rhodes scholarship to attend Oxford University. An economics concentrator and a captain of the men’s basketball team, Henderson is the 36th Chicago student to become a Rhodes scholar. He plans to study economic and social history at Oxford.

    “Someone was about to make a free throw, but in that moment, I truly didn’t care about the game. All of us just wanted to know if Brad got the scholarship,” said teammate Jim Waichulis. “We kept asking from the court, ‘Did you get it? Did you get it?’”

    He did. And the team went on to a 91-69 victory over Aurora University as Henderson cheered from the sidelines.

    Henderson, an economics concentrator with a full, four-year academic scholarship at Chicago, is the fifth College student in three years to receive the British scholarship, bringing Chicago’s total number of Rhodes Scholars to 36.

    British colonial pioneer Cecil Rhodes established the scholarship in 1902, hoping that bringing top students from throughout the world to Oxford would aid in the promotion of international understanding as well as the personal and intellectual development of the scholars. The scholarship provides tuition and a living expense stipend to 32 Americans for two years of study in any field at Oxford University.

    Less than 36 hours after winning, Henderson was writing a 10-page final exam in his apartment as he absorbed the import of his weekend.

    “Four years ago, when I received a scholarship from Chicago, my dad told me, ‘They have given you a gift and you have a responsibility to give back,’” said Henderson. “So, in much the same way, I feel like I have a new incentive to once again focus on what I can achieve and to do my best.”

    Henderson plans to study economic and social history at Oxford. He is especially interested in globalization and its effect on governmental policies that will influence the future of the European Union. His commitment to study the European Union began during a 1999 summer internship with the National Science Foundation, where Henderson authored and presented a research paper titled, “A Community of Convergence: Economic and Social Change in the European Union.”

    Henderson said he would like a career in shaping effective public-choice compromises in global policy, working at an influential international agency such as the World Trade Organization.

    “Both the widespread impact of globalization and the uncertainty of how to best manage such a force made me realize that it was a topic that I would like to study further,” said Henderson. “In my career, I hope to resolve the problems that undermine many of our current efforts to manage globalization by pursuing ‘middle-ground’ compromises consistent with public-choice theory.”

    And a bit further down the road, Henderson sees himself teaching at a small liberal arts college.

    “Although I joke that Brad displays too much skepticism about the contributions of Chicago economics to important contemporary social issues, I have enjoyed teaching him. He is always one of, if not the top student in my classes,” said Allen Sanderson, Senior Lecturer in Economics. “Brad seems to thrive on challenges, and he doesn’t let much grass grow under his sneakers. He attacks his course work, volunteer commitments, summer jobs and the basket with healthy doses of energy, interest and excitement.”

    In addition to making the dean’s list each year, Henderson is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and is a Student Marshal, the highest honor the University bestows on undergraduates. He has tutored for the recognized student organization Strive and has written for the Chicago Weekly News.

    “Brad has pursued intellectual growth at Chicago with extreme vigor,” said Mike McGrath, Men’s Basketball Coach. “At the same time, he looked for additional success outside the classroom. His commitment to basketball has allowed him to excel as an individual athlete, while helping our team win two conference championships. And his character and thoughtfulness make him the ideal teammate. The whole team couldn’t be happier for him.”

    Although Henderson, a starting forward, has received numerous honors from the University Athletic Association, including First Team All-Conference Selection and All-Academic Team, he says basketball continues to be his greatest challenge.

    “Basketball made me realize that I am not as tough as I thought. It is so hard for me, and there is always something I have to work on, to overcome,” said Henderson. He noted that while academics laid the groundwork for his intellectual pursuits, he credits basketball with his increasing self-confidence and assertiveness.