George Patrick Henderson, Jr. '59
The John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service is presented to alumni in recognition of extraordinary service to their community and demonstrated leadership through servanthood in the spirit of Davidson’s fifteenth president. The professional and personal choices made by George Patrick Henderson, Jr. throughout his life exemplify the ideals represented by this award.
When he first came to Davidson in 1955, Pat Henderson did not know what his career would be. Sometime during the four years in which he studied economics, joined ROTC, played baseball, wrote for the Davidsonian, and held multiple positions of campus leadership, he realized that some kind of doctoring was next on the list. From Davidson he went to UNC School of Medicine, graduating in the Class of 1964, and on to Duke University for a residency in head and neck surgery, before serving two years in the U.S. Army. Pat then moved with his wife Norma to Southern Pines, to join the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic—and somehow found time to become board certified in facial plastic surgery.
Pat Henderson’s busy life as a surgeon and father of three daughters was disrupted in 1990 when he was called to active duty, commanding a U.S. Army Reserve Hospital during Operation Desert Storm. Upon retirement in 1994 after 26 years of reserve and active service, Dr. Colonel Pat Henderson received the Army Superior Unit Award.
But when another kind of storm ravaged this country’s Gulf Coast in 2005, Pat did not hesitate to disrupt his life again, stepping forward to join forces with the International Medical Corps in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sleeping in a church in Luling, Louisiana, he managed a FEMA mobile clinic, providing moral and medical support to people whose lives and homes had been literally blown away.
Because he is a patriot, physician, and family man, and chose to dedicate his education and his talent to repairing the medical accidents of both man and nature; to lend both counsel and expertise in times of peace, war, and natural disaster; and because these and many other professional and personal choices offer an extraordinary model of the Davidson ideal of leadership through service, the Davidson College Alumni Association is proud to present George Patrick Henderson, Jr., member of the Class of 1959, with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service on the occasion of his 50th Reunion, this 25th day of April, 2009.