Mary R. “Nina” Henderson ’72, a trustee of Drexel University, has donated to her alma mater to establish the “Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel University.” Announced at the quarterly Drexel Board of Trustees dinner on Sept. 19, the endowed position will empower the work of Drexel’s current Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, as well as future provosts.
“A leadership gift like Nina Henderson’s — which provides enduring support for Drexel’s core educational mission — is a remarkable way to foster academic excellence and help secure our place among the nation’s top research universities,” said Drexel President John Fry. “I am profoundly grateful for Nina’s vision, leadership and philanthropy.”
Henderson, who graduated from what is now the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design in 1972, is currently a director of CNO Financial Group, Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC and IWG PLC, among others, and previously served on the boards of Royal Dutch Shell, AXA Financial and Del Monte Foods, to name a few. Her board service follows her 30-year career at Best Foods, where she was a corporate vice president and president of Best Foods Grocery in North America. She has been a University trustee since May 1991 and was a trustee of the College of Medicine, now serving as a member of its advisory board. As a trustee, Henderson is chairman of the academic affairs committee and a member of the executive and finance committees. As an alumna, she is a member of the Drexel 100, known as the University’s alumni hall of fame, and received the A.J. Drexel Paul Award for Service to Alma Mater in 2010.
Having experienced the many benefits of a Drexel education, Henderson endowed the Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel University as a way to ensure that a Drexel education is distinguished from other universities, both now and in the future.
“Our goal is to deliver a unique advantage to our students while at Drexel and throughout their lives,” said Henderson. “The Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel University will have the tools to invest in timely initiatives that develop, enable and deliver ideas over time, and with a future view, to continue the gift that is a Drexel education.”
Blake, who has been at Drexel since 2015 and is also the executive vice president for Academic Affairs, was formally installed as the Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel University by Fry and Henderson at the Board of Trustees dinner.
“It's wonderful to have the support of Nina as a trustee, colleague and great friend of Drexel,” said Blake. “Her generous gift in support of our academic mission will benefit generations of students, and builds upon Nina’s two decades of dedicated service to Drexel and higher education.”
In a nod to his new endowed position, Blake added new cords to his academic regalia at Drexel’s Convocation on Sept. 20: blue and gold, to symbolize Drexel; green and gold, to symbolize his PhD from George Mason University; and brown, the official academic color of fine arts (and of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design) to symbolize Henderson’s degree from Drexel.