Chris Henry

Christopher Henry, class of 2013

Bachelor of Arts in history with an emphasis in U.S. and labor history

History major Chris Henry, class of 2013, knows who he is, where he's from and who he wants to be. Born and raised in the tiny community of McClearly, Washington, Chris attended the only available high school, in the neighboring town of Elma. At the age of 18, he joined the Marine Corps where he was certified as an aircraft mechanic and began a four-year tour of duty that found him stationed in Iraq, Korea, Japan, and eventually Hawaii. Working on CH53 and UH60 helicopters until the end of his enlistment, Chris decided that he wanted out of a field where "my hands were being destroyed every day."

A competitive weight-lifter who competes in strong man competitions and is used to flipping 900 lb. tires, Chris is no stranger to what is required to realize a goal. "My time in the Marine Corps prepared me to attend college successfully," Chris says, and successfully attend he has. In spite of a two-semester hiatus in spring of 2012 - when Chris took a fulltime position as an aircraft mechanic at Fort Lewis to continue funding his education - he is set to graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in history with an emphasis in U.S. and labor history.

Chris found Saint Martin's University very welcoming. "Everyone is helpful," he says. "My entire experience has been of people willing to bend over backwards." With no college experience, Chris didn't know what to expect, but the culture at Saint Martin's made the transition from military life to student life very easy. "Everyone in the history department was very knowledgeable, professional and generous with their time," says Chris. "Dr. Casillas, Dr. Goings, Dr. Barnes, and Dr. Snider, even though he is actually political science, have all been extremely insightful and helped guide me and many others through the course of our studies."

Particularly rewarding were Chris' experiences with Br. Boniface Lazzari, O.S.B. One of Saint Martin's resident monks and a professor of world languages, Br. Boniface counseled Chris while Chris was working as a Spanish and history tutor at Saint Martin's Learning and Writing Center. Chris took many classes with Br. Boniface and would love to see Saint Martin's offer a major or minor in Spanish. "Br. Boniface does a great job - with only one of him!" says Chris.

Chris wants to be a history teacher. After graduation he plans to apply to the Saint Martin's Education program and possibly the STAR program, and move on to teach. Ideally, Chris wants to teach history to low-income students in Grays Harbor, where his roots are. He has a passion for positively affecting the lives of children in low-income communities. "I'm from a low-income area," he says. "Grays Harbor used to be on top with the timber industry, but now the timber industry is going away. In this economy people are getting left behind, children get left behind. I want to help fill that gap. I have an affinity for the area and low-income communities because that's what I know."

Chris considers it his responsibility to let his students know "that they are just as smart, just as capable, and deserve just as much as people they see as 'in charge.'" Because of who he is and where he is from, Chris Henry is making it his mission to prepare low-income children for a life of meaning by instilling in them both higher self-worth and the ability to assert their equality.

Chris lives with his wife and two daughters in Elma, Washington.

College of Arts and Sciences