Henricks honored as Distinguished Professor

Sociology professor Tom Henricks was recognized as Elon’s second Distinguished University Professor at a Sept. 24 banquet. Details…


Henricks, the J. Earl Danieley Professor of Sociology, received the honor for his meritorious service to the university. Taking part in the investiture was Zachary Walker, chair of the board of trustees, President Leo M. Lambert and Provost Gerald Francis. About 160 of Henricks’ faculty colleagues attended the banquet.

The Distinguished University Professorship is bestowed, on occasion, to full professors who have made distinguished contributions to teaching, scholarship and the Elon University community. The board of trustees created the honor in 2001, and a committee comprised of faculty members solicited nominations and recommendations for the award.

Henricks joined the Elon faculty in 1977 and is regarded as one of the university’s finest teachers and scholar. He received Elon’s highest award for teaching, the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching, in 1990. He has also held administrative and leadership roles on campus, serving as chair of the sociology department from 1986-1991 and associate dean of academic affairs and dean of the division of social sciences from 1991-1997.

In a tribute address, Laurence Basirico, chair of the sociology department, praised Henricks for 27 years of leadership and work in all phases of Elon’s academic programs. “Tom is a consistent, courageous and wise advocate for faculty concerns,” Basirico said. “Tom’s career at Elon has been and continues to be marked by balance and commitment to Elon. I have never known him to engage in the frenetic rush to accomplish goals for the sake of evaluation or personal advancement that is so characteristic of members of our profession. He has consistently worked toward achieving the highest levels of excellence in every endeavor, be it teaching, scholarship, advising, service, or administration.”

President Lambert thanked Henricks for his “devotion to the Elon community and untiring commitment to excellence.”

In response to the award, Henricks recalled the Elon of 25 years ago and called himself a “denizen of the old world.” He remarked about the growth of the University, calling Elon “a future-oriented institution … an institution of change as well as one of continuity.” He said for the past few years, Elon has been poised between the culture of a college and that of a university. “I would join those who argue that we must maintain – and even enhance – the quality of our connection to students. The teaching environment at Elon now – with its smaller classes, clearer purposes, and technologically enhanced communication – is simply better than the one I entered. We are preparing a different generation of students for a different set of futures in a different world,” Henricks said.

Henricks has served on important task forces and committees, including those on diversity and the role of the teacher-scholar at Elon. He has played leadership roles in the development of the faculty released-time system; studies of the tenure system and adjunct faculty; the founding of the Faculty Resource Center; and the creation of majors in sociology and international studies and minors in African-American studies and criminal justice.

Henricks is an active scholar who has more than 30 articles, book chapters and reviews in scholarly publications to his credit. He is the author of a book, “Disputed Pleasures: Sport and Society in Preindustrial England,” and has two more manuscripts in preparation. He presents his work frequently at professional conferences and is the recipient of several grants from various agencies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education.

Henricks earned a bachelor’s degree from North Central College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of Chicago.