John Henry inspired many a student during his tenure as a teacher of economics. With your support, a plaque in John’s memory will be added to the existing bench dedicated to another past CSUS Professor of Economics, Joseph Furey, who taught at CSUS from 1967 – 1996. While a generation apart, they were good friends who shared a common perspective. Many a student “majored in classes from John and Joe.” Former students still benefit from the insights of political economy revealed in courses taught by the two Professors.
Both Professor Furey and Professor Henry conveyed to students a high standard of academic integrity and intellectual honesty. They shared a vision of a better world based on rationality and science in the face of those insisting on an unreasonable, irrational, and anti-science world.
As advocates for working and oppressed people anywhere in the world, they were relentlessly critical of economists who consciously rationalize and perpetuate injustice. Both were active in unionizing activities for California State University System professors. Both often gave campus-wide lectures or presentations on some contemporaneous topic upon request by student organizations.
Professor Henry received many accolades while here at CSUS. “The CSUS School of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies awarded Dr. Henry the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1998 and the Outstanding Service Award in 2003. In 2001 he was selected by the university to deliver the John C. Livingston Annual Faculty Lecture, the highest honor bestowed by the faculty of that institution.” (Sacramento Bee Obituary)
Professor Henry, a faculty leader well-respected by his peers, served terms as the department vice-chair. As a Sac State peer wrote: “Simply and accurately put, he was one of the very best things ever to happen to the CSUS economics department. Beyond John’s home department, his contributions to the university students and academic faculty deserve not to be forgotten.” (CSUS Retirees Association: In Memory Archives for the Year 2020; Bob Curry, Professor of Economics, 1966-1997.) As a professor, “His main objective in his teaching career was to help liberate the minds of students from the shackles of conventional thought.” (Sacramento Bee Obituary)
After retiring from Sac State, Professor Henry went on to teach for more than a decade at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he was recruited by two former Sac State students on the UM faculty,-- two former Sac State students who, though separated in their studies at Sac State by 10 years, have made and are making significant contributions in the field of economics. After leaving UMKC, he taught as a Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. John continued to make an impact at these two institutions. It is readily apparent from the memory pages written upon John’s death that those who interacted with him at UMKC and Bard College also experienced many of the same insights and academic awakenings that Professor Henry provided at our own CSUS.
A dedication ceremony will be held in the Fall of 2021 to commemorate Professor Henry’s sharing of the memorial bench established in circa 1997 for his mentor in political economy, friend and close confidant, Professor Joseph Furey. Fittingly, this memorial bench to Joe Furey exists due to John Henry’s effort 24 years ago.
Enrico “Ric” Maggenti,
CSUS Alumnus: BA History 1979; BS Civil Engineering, Minor Economics 1985