Seven hundred years ago, Dante wrote what has been called the most significant single poem ever written. He lived in a world not unlike our own. Fraught with both difficulty of brutal politics, climate changes, crop failure, famine, and disease and filled with beauty, wisdom, hope, and a sacred path forward. Dr. Doug Henry, head of Baylor University’s Honors College, is part of a team from key Christian Universities who have partnered together to bring Dante’s works alive in a unique project called 100 Days of Dante. What can Dante communicate to us in this day and age? Does he still have anything to say to us or offer us? Is his message relevant or valuable to us? Can it still challenge us? Absolutely yes, and it is just what we need for ourselves, our families, and our schools today!
Doug Henry is Dean of the Honors College. He holds a BA in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University and an MA and PhD in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. Dean Henry has taught students in all four of the Honors College programs in courses covering everything from Homer’s Iliad to twenty-first-century great books such as Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Cormac McCarthy’s Road.
Co-editor of three books and author of over thirty refereed and invited articles, book chapters, and reviews, Dean Henry’s scholarly work addresses such varied writers as Plato, Boethius, John Bunyan, Iris Murdoch, Walker Percy, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI and diverse topics including allegory, divine hiddenness, doubt, ecumenism, freedom, hope, and love. His interest and understanding of American higher education, and especially church-related colleges and universities, is reflected in Faithful Learning and the Christian Scholarly Vocation (Eerdmans, 2003), Christianity and the Soul of the University: Faith as a Foundation for Intellectual Community (Baker Academic, 2005), and The Schooled Heart: Moral Formation in American Higher Education (Baylor University Press, 2007).
The former director of Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning (2001-08), he also served six years as the live-in master of Brooks Residential College at Baylor (2007-13) and co-director of a summer abroad program, Baylor in Turkey and Greece (2011-19), in which his students walked the dusty plains of Troy, sailed the wine-dark seas of the Aegean, stood atop the Areopagus, and marveled at Hagia Sophia. With Gretchen Van Dyke (University of Scranton), Dean Henry is a mentor for the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, a national initiative supporting Ph.D. students interested in teaching in church-related higher-education.
At present, he is working on three book projects: Plato’s Euthyphro and the Character of Piety; Three Rival Versions of Education; and an as-yet untitled academic mystery novel.
Married to Michele L. Henry, professor of choral music education and director of the music education division at Baylor, he is the father of a fifteen-year-old son, Zachary. Dean Henry enjoys cycling, running, college football and basketball, reading, and traveling. He is deeply engaged in the local community, showing the usefulness of philosophy for life by developing a small pocket neighborhood, The Cloister at Cameron Park, and by backing Waco’s new, community-based bookshop, the highly anticipated Fabled Bookshop & Cafe.