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McHenry to retire after 45-year career in higher education

April 21, 2008

Growing up in north central Louisiana, music was a strong focal point for ASU professor Albert McHenry, and it’s a hobby that has helped him harmonize throughout his career in higher education. After more than 30 years of serving the university in various administrative and academic leadership positions, including chair, dean, executive vice provost and vice president, he is retiring.

His love of music, in a way, helped him determine his course of study when he was a student and put him on the road to a 45-year career in higher education.

“At that time, the electronic age was beginning to flower, and a major focus of the new electronics technology was music recording and reproduction,” McHenry says. “I had become an audiophile with interests in high-fidelity audio equipment, and electronics fulfilled my interests.”

Before becoming the founding dean of the College of Science and Technology at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, McHenry served on the Tempe campus as professor of technology and chair, for 11 years, of the Department of Electronics and Computer Technology and director, School of Technology. During his tenure as dean, enrollment in the college increased nearly 55 percent.

As the executive vice provost and vice president of the Polytechnic campus, he continued to help develop the professional and technological programs offered in the academic units at the Polytechnic campus.

“Al has a long history with ASU and is well-regarded by the Polytechnic campus, the university and the East Valley community,” says Elizabeth D. Capaldi, ASU’s executive vice president and provost. “He will be greatly missed.”

The majority of McHenry’s research effort has been focused on the implementation of contextual education as a process with special interest in high-technology preparation and re-education. Even after retirement, he plans to stay active in this aspect.

“I will continue executing sponsored projects that are aimed at facilitating an increased number of Americans in achieving doctoral degrees in STEM fields and then assuming positions in the professorate,” McHenry says.

McHenry is recognized nationally as an expert and leader in engineering technology education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has been honored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), receiving the 2002 James H. McGraw Award and the 1995 Frederick J. Berger Award for “major contributions to the advancement of engineering technology education.” In 2001, he was elected a fellow grade member of ASEE, and he is serving as vice president for public affairs for the organization.

The city of Mesa named McHenry its 2004 Man of the Year in recognition of his volunteer activities. He has served on the Mesa United Way and Mesa Senior Services boards, chaired the technology committee for the East Valley Partnership and worked to bring a new YMCA to eastern Mesa. In 2006, the East Valley Partnership presented McHenry the Dwight Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his significant lifelong contributions to the community.

“I hope that ASU and the communities have been positively influenced by my contributions,” McHenry says. “I wish to express my gratitude to the people of ASU who have and continue to contribute much to my life and its fulfillment.”

Friends and colleagues will have a chance to wish McHenry well at a retirement reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., April 29, at the Student Union Cooley Ballrooms at the Polytechnic campus.

Interested persons can pay tribute to McHenry by contributing to the Albert L. McHenry Scholarship for College of Technology and Innovation students, an effort co-founded with his wife, Annette. For more information, contact the Development Office at the Polytechnic campus at (480) 727-1897.