2011 · STORIES
by Susan Lassetter on December 04, 2011
This summer, the Bulldog family lost a loyal friend, generous philanthropist and proven alumni leader.
Hunter W. Henry Jr., a chemical engineering graduate, died June 4 in San Marcos, Texas.
Henry was born in the southern Mississippi town of McComb in 1928. He spent his formative years in Canton before moving to Starkville in the late 1940s to attend Mississippi State University. He left State in 1950 with a bachelor's degree and a lifelong passion for higher education and his alma mater.
After his graduation, Henry went to work with the Gulf Oil Co. The following year, he joined Dow Chemical to begin his 42-year career with the company. He retired in 1993 as president of Dow Chemical USA.
Many in the Bulldog family recognize Henry's name because of the alumni and development center named in his honor, but it was the actions leading to that recognition that have left the most lasting impact on the university. He dedicated countless hours to university service as a long-time member of the MSU Foundation board of directors and vice chairman of the steering committee of the university's State of the Future capital campaign.
Joined in his support of the university by is late wife, Lila Harlow Henry, and their three sons, Hunter "Ticket" Henry, Robert Henry and the late James Henry, a 1977 mechanical engineering graduate, Henry's legacy will continue to be felt at MSU through an endowed faculty chair in chemical engineering and endowed lecture series, as well as the numerous scholarships his family has established in the colleges of arts and sciences, business, and engineering. His giving served as an example and challenge to other Bulldog alumni.
Through the years, Henry received numerous honors from Mississippi State and the Bagley College of Engineering, including being named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow, and the 1988 National Alumnus of the Year. In 2001, he earned the university's highest tribute, an honorary doctorate. But his most exciting achievement was sharing in the success and lives of his many beneficiaries at Mississippi State.