Richard Nelson Henson, Ph.D.



Dr. Kay R. Dickson, “Richard Nelson Henson, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 15, 2024,

Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>


Richard Nelson Henson, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Kay R. Dickson




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of Biology Richard Nelson Henson was born on March 13, 1941, in Asheville, North Carolina, to Edith Mason Henson and Nelson Hilliard Henson. His mother, a graduate of Western Carolina University, was a schoolteacher and his father was a lifelong newspaperman—reporter, news director, and editorial page editor. Henson attended Beaumont High School in Beaumont, Texas, from which he graduated in 1958, lettering in tennis. He then attended the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where he majored in zoology. Transferring to Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, he graduated in 1963. Henson began his master's degree studies in 1963 at Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, working under the direction of Dr. Sewell H. Hopkins, a distinguished professor of parasitology and marine biology. Upon completion of his M. S. degree, he began a Ph. D. program, while continuing to work under Hopkins, and he graduated in 1970. Dr. Henson accepted a position at Appalachian State University to pursue his love of teaching. He spent the next thirty-six years, 1970-2006, teaching and doing research in medical parasitology, then shifted to a new interest area of desert ecology in the mid-1980s. Since that time, he has worked on the systematics and ecology of scorpions in the southwestern United States. For Dr. Henson, teaching involved extended field trips throughout the United States and to several international locations. He organized and developed cross-country field trips in 1973, 1980, 1983, and 1986. He also taught an on-site desert ecology field course in the summer of 1988. In 1976, Dr. Henson organized his first international marine biology field course to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. He developed marine biology field courses to the Bahamas in 1991 and 1992, and, from 1994 through 2000, he led classes to study coral reef biology in Belize, Central America. Dr. Henson directed or co-directed fifteen theses, two of which won the Outstanding Thesis Award at Appalachian State (1986, 1994). One thesis directed by Henson won a second-place award in 1984. Additionally, he served on the thesis committees of two students who each won the top award (1981, 1985). Dr. Henson was named a professor of biology in 1980. He served as interim chair, Department of Biology, 1998-1999. He was named assistant dean, College of Arts and Sciences in 1999, became associate dean in 2002, and remained in that position until he retired in 2006. He was awarded professor emeritus status in 2006. At Appalachian State University, Dr. Henson achieved the following honors: 1971, 1975, 1976—nominated for Outstanding Teaching Award at ASU 1990-1999—nominated for Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences 1996—received Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences 1992—selected into the Academy of Outstanding Teachers, College of Arts and Sciences 1993—nominated for Appalachian Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award 1993, 1995—nominated for College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award by the Student Government Association 1998—received the Board of Governors Teaching Award 1999—received the Board of Governors Teaching Award 2001—nominated for Outstanding Advisor, College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Henson married Betty Jo Hines in 1966, while in graduate school. The couple has two children, Angela, born in 1968, who lives in Georgia, and Mark, born in 1973, who lives in Arizona. Both are graduates of Appalachian State University. Sources: Appalachian State University files and personal correspondence. -Kay R. Dickson

Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>