Story by Payton Hayes
Photo courtesy of Rose State
Dr. Frances Hendrix, former vice president of Academic Affairs, was an inspirational pillar at Rose State for 37 years. She played a pivotal role in many of the major changes that took place during her time on campus. Hendrix made the decision to retire this year, and her final day on campus was March 9.
Hendrix began her work with Rose State in August 1981 and retired this year, after helping the college complete its visit with the Higher Learning Commission. Dr. Jeanie Webb, President of Rose State, described Hendrix’s hard work, as well as her persevering and positive attitude during her time on campus.
“She has provided policies and procedures that continue to improve the quality of the education and experience of the students at Rose State College. She has seen and experienced both good and difficult times at the college and has remained positive throughout it all,” Webb said.
Hendrix may be humble and short in stature, but the Rose State community should not confuse this with her long list of accomplishments.
“She is dedicated, ethical and hardworking,” Webb said. “Dr. Hendrix truly cares about Rose State, not only from an academic perspective, but also an institutional and community perspective. She has implemented many new academic programs.”
By following her everyday routine and putting her extensive higher education and institutional knowledge to work, Hendrix impacted thousands of students’ futures over the past 37 years.
“She has the ability, with her higher education and institutional knowledge, to sift through information and get right to the heart of the matter,” said Humanities Academic Adviser Jeff Conkin. “She deals compassionately and directly with conflict so that issues are resolved quickly.”
Conkin worked with her as a part of the Enterprise Development-Reach Higher program and as the Humanities adviser with the programs in that division.
“My office was close to hers, and she was always there to answer questions and be supportive and listen to me and give me information, just with her great experience not only at Rose State, but also her statewide higher education experience,” Conkin said.
Hendrix played an influential role during her time at Rose State, working through changes and embracing staff and students alike to positively impact their lives.
“She has been a strong advocate in bringing new programs to the campus, such as Cyber Security, Developmental Education, STEM and STEAM, Emergency Management and many more,” Webb said.
Hendrix stands as an inspiration to students and faculty alike.
“Students can look to [Hendrix] as a role model for making a difference and for working however long it takes to complete the task,” Webb said. “Dr. Frances Hendrix will be forever remembered at Rose State College,” Webb said.
Conkin explained that he thinks inspiration can be found in her devotion to Rose and her community. He added that devoting yourself, not only to learning as much as you can about whatever your job is, but to how your job can fit into the bigger picture and help other people, is equally important.
“I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Hendrix, as she is a good mentor,” said Isabelle Billen, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness. “She’s a planner, and she teaches you how to plan ahead, think and back up before you react.”
Billen added that Hendrix is a pillar that stands to represent and inspire all women looking to further their education and make a difference in their communities.
“Frances brings loyalty, ethics, trust, dedication and knowledge to our institution,” Webb said. “We have been so privileged to have someone who cares deeply about our campus.”
While Hendrix was notably quiet about her personal life, she was friendly and kind.
“Dr. Hendrix has always had a friendly greeting and a listening ear,” Conkin said. “She has been very supportive of faculty and staff in areas of professional enrichment, and a great leader when it comes to developmental education at the college. She will be missed and treasured for both her personal connections and overall legacy.”
Hendrix admitted that she has not made any immediate plans for the foreseeable future; however, after so many years of hard work and planning, it might be a nice change of pace to keep her options open.
“The college has been fortunate to have such an extraordinary leader, and it is my hope she will continue to be active on our campus with future endeavors,” Webb said.
To view a campus tribute video for Hendrix, visit 15thstreetnews.org.
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