|Public Affairs - Press Release|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 30, 2004
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Columbus native named MUW Harriet Stark Gibbons Chair in Journalism
COLUMBUS, Miss. – After a national search, Columbus native Margaret Mary Henry has joined Mississippi University for Women this fall as the holder of the Harriet Stark Gibbons Chair in Journalism.
As holder of the Gibbons Chair, Henry will provide leadership to MUW’s next generation of journalists and establish the reputation of the division of communication throughout the state and the surrounding region.
“Although my years as an editor involved many elements of teaching, this is really a new career for me, and I feel exhilarated--like an arrow being shot out of a bow--and my target is to equip students to work in the media as ethical, competent professionals (who meet the deadline!). The Gibbons Chair came open just at the time that I wanted to come back south. I consider this more than a happy coincidence. I feel that I was meant to do this,” she said.
Henry, who is fluent in Russian, has 24 years of experience as a translator, writer and editor.
>From June 2000 to March 2004, Henry worked with The Christian Science Monitor (Boston) as the Europe editor international desk. She directed coverage of former USSR and Europe, coached writers, edited articles, managed two full-time senior correspondents and 10 to 15 junior free-lancers and ran the desk in the absence of the foreign editor and deputy.
She served as editor of AmCham News, the magazine of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia and writer and/or editor of The Moscow Times (Russia), a Dutch-owned English-language newspaper.
Henry was co-editor and translator for the first English editions of Ballet, Russia’s dance magazine.
She also served as political reporter and later assistant city editor for The Sun Herald daily newspaper in Biloxi.
Her articles have been printed in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Magazine and Dance Magazine.
She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Medill School Northwestern University with highest distinction and her bachelor’s in Russian magna cum laude from Georgetown University.
Henry is glad to be back at the place that piqued her curiosity about the world.
“For years all I wanted to do was get out of Columbus--and I did--all the way to Russia. It was actually The W that awakened in me this curiosity about the world. At Whitfield Auditorium I got my first glimpse of ballet--it was love at first sight. The interest in ballet led to an interest in Russian ballet and that led to an interest in the rest of Russia's culture and the language itself and on and on.”
She later took ballet classes from a W student—Michelle Godfrey (Harmon), who is now a professor in speech.
“Her class was as tough as it was wonderful. I have vivid memories of standing at the barre before the enormous, arching windows of the dance studio in the old gym, the sweat pouring off me as I tried to stretch just a little farther. The W also loomed large in my youth in terms of music. I gave my high school senior piano recital at Poindexter, knees and fingers shaking in terror. I got completely lost in the second section of a Chopin nocturne and had a few panicked moments as I found my way back to the main theme. Afterward one of the professors—James Allen, who is still teaching, wryly noted to my teacher: ‘She improvises well.’”
Her mother, Margaret B. Henry, worked at The W for 13 years--first as a writer in public information and later as director.
“She would often regale us with tales from the campus. And Marguerite Goen, who was a teacher and a dean at The W, was a close friend of our family. So you can see, The W really is in my blood, and I feel a sense of homecoming as I begin to teach here.TheWopeneduptheworldfor me, and I'd like to pass on this gift and do the same for my students.”
Henry will teach reporting and writing courses and oversee internships as well as the Ray W. Furr annual journalism workshop. As sponsor of the campus newspaper, The Spectator, Henry wants to expand the paper's range and scope.
“Journalism is a demanding career and it requires a lot of long hours, but it's also one of the most rewarding fields, and I look forward to sharing whatever I have learned with the next generation and spurring them on as they discover their gifts and their calling.”
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