May 10, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 16

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    Henderson receives Byers scholarship

    By Arthur Fournier
    News Office

    Brad Henderson
    Brad Henderson, a fourth-year student in the College who will graduate in June, still remembers the feeling he had the first quarter of his freshman year. At times he felt overwhelmed by the challenge of balancing athletics with four classes. “During eighth week, I was thinking to myself that I’d be so happy just to get a 3.0 average, maybe pull a 3.25 to make the dean’s list,” he recalled. When grades finally arrived after the end of the quarter, he was exhilarated to find out he had received straight A’s. “That experience really inspired me,” he said.

    On Tuesday, April 24, the National Collegiate Athletics Association named Henderson, a concentrator in Economics, as its 2001 men’s athletics Byers Scholar. Under the Byers program, the NCAA awards one male and one female student-athlete a postgraduate scholarship that recognizes outstanding academic achievements and potential for success in postgraduate study or career service. The honor carries a $12,500, renewable grant for up to two years of graduate study.

    Henderson, who entered the College with a four-year scholarship, is no stranger to prestigious academic honors. In January, he became the fifth College student in three years to receive a Rhodes scholarship for study at Oxford University. In addition to making the dean’s list each year, he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has served as a Student Marshal. Henderson is the second Chicago student to have won a Byers Scholarship since the NCAA established the award in 1988. Kristin Maschka (A.B. ’91), who participated in women’s basketball at Chicago, was awarded a Byers in 1991.

    As captain of the basketball team, Henderson said he is proud to belong to the College class with the greatest number of wins in school history. “During these past four years, we’ve won three league championships out of four and made three NCAA tournament appearances,” he explained. “This past year was the best we’ve had. It was great to watch games sell out in our gym and just to know the whole campus was behind us.”

    At Oxford University, where he will begin his Rhodes scholarship studies in the fall, Henderson plans to enter into an M. Phil. program in economics, sociology, or economic and social history. Regardless of his choice in majors, he said he sees the continuation of his education and his life beyond the classroom in terms of a 15-year commitment to working on global issues related to trade reforms. “I really want to make a difference, and I think this next part of my life will be my chance to do that,” he said. “A lot of people are attracted to smaller, micro-issues, where the benefits from action can be a lot more immediately palpable, but fewer people are willing to make a concerted effort to produce small benefits for everyone around the world,” he explained.

    As much as it presents a reflection of his personal achievements, to Henderson, the Byers Scholarship also is an important validation of what he sees as the highly individualized nature of student life in the College.

    “At Chicago, you accomplish your goals on your own terms,” he explained. “If you want to be both a student and an athlete, you have the freedom to do that.”