Charles D. Henry Award

The Charles D. Henry Award was established in 1984. The award provides the means through which SHAPE America recognizes essential contributions of its members who, through distinguished service: increase involvement of ethnic minorities in SHAPE America; increase communication with greater numbers of ethnic minority members; and extend meaningful services to SHAPE America ethnic minorities. Not more than one Henry Award shall be given each year.

The recipient shall:
Eligibility
  • Be a current member of SHAPE America and shall have held such membership for at least five years.
  • Have served professionally in school (preschool, elementary, secondary), college or community programs in HPERD for a period of at least five years prior to nomination.
Award Criteria
  • Demonstrate a record of increasing involvement of ethnic minorities in SHAPE America.
  • Demonstrate a record of increasing communications with greater numbers of SHAPE America ethnic minority members.
  • Demonstrate a record of extending meaningful professional services to SHAPE America ethnic minority members.
Dr. Charles D. Henry

Charles HenryDr. Charles D. Henry joined the Big Ten Conference on June 1, 1974, becoming the first African-American assistant commissioner of any conference office. Until his death in 1982, Henry was a committed man with foresight, who helped usher in the era of women's athletics in the conference, while also dedicated to easing the transition for African-American student-athletes on all Big Ten campuses. 

Henry, who was a native of Conway, Arkansas, graduated from Philander Smith College in Little Rock. He went on to receive his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Iowa. Henry began his career in athletic administration when he returned to his alma mater as the director of athletics and assistant football coach at Philander Smith for six years. He then moved on to Grambling State and served as the chairman of the College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department from 1958-74.

Throughout his career at the Big Ten, Henry displayed the same zeal as the staff liaison for women's intercollegiate athletics as he did for assisting in African-American national issues. He was instrumental in preparing the Big Ten for officially instituting women's competition in 1981-82.