In a unique public service career, Robert Henry served in each branch of government. From 1976 to 1986 he was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; in 1986 and again in 1990, he was elected Attorney General of Oklahoma. He was later appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where he served as Chief Judge. Judge Robert H. Henry became the 17th President of Oklahoma City University in July 2010. His long-standing relationship with OCU began in 1991 when he joined the faculty of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he served as Dean and Professor of Law from 1991 until 1994.
President Henry serves on the boards of directors of Devon Energy, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and the OKC Allied Arts. Additionally, he serves on several national and international boards including the advisory boards of iCivics, the Ralph Ellison Foundation, and the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a life member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. His previous service includes the Advisory Board for the Judicial Outreach Program of the American Society of International Law, the Board of the A.B.A. Rule of Law Initiative. He was the first chair of the A.B.A.’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Council. From 2009-2013 Henry served on the board of directors for the Foundation for the Future (a human rights and pro-democracy organization) based in Amman, Jordan.
Henry has taught at Oklahoma Baptist University (Business Law); the University of Tulsa (Political History of Oklahoma); the University of Tulsa College of Law (Legal History and also serving as the inaugural Distinguished Judge in Residence); the University of Oklahoma (Law and Literature at Oxford, England); and the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Oxford and Norman programs (Law and Literature). His scholarship has been published in numerous law reviews and by the university presses of Oxford, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. He has also published widely in magazines and newspapers, as well as authored the entry for “Civil Rights” in the Dictionary of Oklahoma. He has presented numerous lectures at law schools here and abroad, including the 2010 Madison Lecture at New York University and the 2011 Pedrick Lecture at Arizona State Law.
Among his honors, he has been awarded Leadership Oklahoma’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, the Dalsimer Dean’s Award by the Pepperdine School of Law, the Annual Human Rights Award by the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission; the A.C. Hamlin Award by National Black Caucus of State Legislators; and the Humanitarian of the Year Award by National Conference of Christians and Jews (the precursor organization of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice). President Henry will be inducted to the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Hall of Fame in September, 2015.
A native of Shawnee, Oklahoma, President Henry received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Oklahoma. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane letters from the University of Tulsa and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma City University.