Photo of Marjorie and Norm Hendersoon

The gift of opportunity

Alumni couple commits $1.2 million to establish the Henderson Family Fund

Photo of Marjorie and Norm Hendersoon
Marjorie and Norman Henderson in 2005

Norman Henderson, PhD (GRS ‘60, ‘61, psychology), remembers clearly the moment he decided to study psychology. It was 1958, just a few months before he was supposed to begin his senior year as a mechanical engineering major at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“I wanted to explore the human side of engineering and man-machine systems,” Henderson recalled. “And to design things with human users in mind requires an understanding of psychology.”

Today, Henderson is an esteemed scholar of behavior genetics and psychometrics, and with a $1.2 million unrestricted commitment to Case Western Reserve University College of Arts and Sciences, he’s giving back to the community that helped him pivot careers six decades ago. 

“Case [Western Reserve] opened so many doors for me—through education, but especially through faculty members who nudged me toward new experiences,” said Henderson, who discovered his passion for research and teaching as a graduate student at Western Reserve University. It’s also where he met his now wife, Marjorie Henderson (FSM ‘60).

“Norm and Marjorie have been dedicated supporters of the college for many years and truly serve as role models for what makes a university great,” said Joy K. Ward, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Particularly with Norm’s 45-year tenure at Oberlin College, they understand the importance of investing in faculty on a very personal level. The Henderson Family Fund will honor that legacy.”

The Hendersons hope their gift will provide CWRU students more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations and creative projects with faculty, but ultimately trust Ward and university leadership to determine the best use of the funds.

“I like the idea that it can go on,” Norm Henderson said of the endowed fund. “It can continue to make a difference for students in 50 years, just as my education has done for me.”