Biography of Robert T. Henderson


In Memoriam
Robert T. Henderson
by Edward Anthony

Bob Henderson was a quiet, friendly man. His genuine reluctance to talk about his accomplishments hid a remarkable career of versatile service to the profession of language teaching and learning. He was a student-oriented teacher, a gifted low-key academic administrator, an eager participant in English language programs abroad. A devoted member of TESOL, he always attended its annual meetings.

The stark fact that he died in Hawaii a victim of homicide has shocked his colleagues, his friends, and the numerous students present and past who benefited from his teaching. The news of this tragic death has caused all who knew him a deep sense of inconsolable personal loss.

It is fitting in this brief encomium to acknowledge just a few of his contributions to language pedagogy. He stayed on at the University of Pittsburgh after earning his Ph.D. and gave stability and balance to many language-related programs as a teacher and talented administrator. At the time of his death he was director of the Language Acquisition Institute and of the Professional Translation Certificate Program. He chaired the Language Resource Center Planning Committee. Earlier he headed two Latin American Studies field trip programs for the University, directed Pitt's Language Laboratory, and its English Language Institute in Japan.

Abroad on other English teaching missions, he served the Peace Corps in Ibague, Colombia and at the Centro Colombo-Americano Binational Center in Manizales. In the US, he left the University of Pittsburgh for 3 years to become edi-tor, English as a second or foreign language, for Litton Educational Publishing In-ternational in Manhattan.

His recent interests focused on the International Association for Learning Laboratories (IALL) as its current president. Their notice to members about his death describes him as "good natured and unassuming, kind, and considerate... warm, humorous, affectionate...competent...." That says it all.

We will miss him.

Edward Anthony is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a former President of TESOL.

Robert Henderson Language Media Center, University of Pittsburgh
Last revised: August 24, 2001