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JSU’s McHenry earns Presidential Award for Excellence for being major STEM mentor

(JACKSON, Miss.) — The White House announced that Jackson State
University’s Dr. William E. McHenry, the executive director of the
Mississippi e-Center Foundation is among 11 individual honorees to
receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and
Engineering Mentoring.

McHenry, who leads the Mississippi e-Center@JSU, is the only recipient
from the Magnolia state. He earned the recognition for influencing tens of
thousands outside of the traditional classroom setting, thus preparing
them to enter the future workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM).

“Jackson State University appreciates the continuous impact Dr. McHenry
has made in the field of STEM education through mentorship,” said Thomas
K. Hudson, J.D., acting president. “Throughout his career, he has worked
tirelessly to expand opportunities for students in Mississippi and beyond.
This honor recognizes his dedication to improving the lives of others.”

Elated about his selection, McHenry said, “It is an honor to be recognized
for the contributions that I have made as a mentor either directly or
indirectly to tens of thousands of students. This award is also a win for
the state of Mississippi, Jackson State University and the Mississippi

Colleagues, administrators, and students nominate individuals and
organizations for their exemplary sustained mentoring. The White House
Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science
Foundation (NSF) facilitate nominations and awards for the Presidential
Excellence honor.

McHenry said he has dedicated 45 years to “incorporating mentoring
principles in both academic and administrative challenges to enhance the success of students, especially those from groups underrepresented in

Currently, he serves as principal investigator (PI) on a $4 million NSF
grant titled “STEM STARS.” The project is designed to address science and
math teacher shortages in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

McHenry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Southern
Arkansas University and a doctorate in chemistry from Mississippi State

Before joining JSU, McHenry served in the executive office of the Oklahoma
State Regents for Higher Education. He was the vice chancellor for
Academic and Student Affairs with responsibilities that included
state-based student financial aid.

As well, he provided leadership for a system of 24 higher education
institutions with a state budget of more than $1 billion. From 1997 to
2004, he served as assistant commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs
for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, where he increased
federal funding from $500,000 to more than $11 million.

While serving as an NSF program officer from 1990 to 1996, he authored a
book on how to establish mentoring programs. During that time, he was the
PI or co-PI on more than $60 million in grants. He assisted in
implementing and managing the federal government’s largest broadening
participation program, the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority
Participation (LSMAMP), which had an annual budget of more than $250
million. LSMAMP is often called the “crown jewel” of participation

As it relates to his latest honor, McHenry said, “I have been fortunate to
work with colleagues and students who believe that through hard work and
persistence their dreams of succeeding in STEM can be achieved. This award allows me to expand my use of innovative mentoring strategies to help prepare science and mathematics teachers for high-needs schools.”