“Through the diversity of classes I’ve taken, I have gained a broader perspective on life. SJU has broadened my mind and opened my heart.”
Sue Henry ’17 has always been an artist at heart. But the path to her passion hasn’t always been a straight line for the 60-year-old graduating senior.
After graduating from Harcum College in 1980 with an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, she worked alongside researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, completed technical training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and started a career as a full-time ultrasound technician. But despite all her success, she felt a pull for something more.
“Between a full-time job and raising three kids, I wasn’t able to focus on art more than a few hours a week,” Henry says. “So when my sons entered kindergarten, I left my job to stay home, take care of my children, and return to working in clay.”
She quickly re-immersed herself in ceramics, taking classes at local art centers, connecting with fellow artists and selling her work at craft shows. However, after a degenerative osteoarthritis diagnosis that prevented her from using her hand for ceramics, she decided to return to school to finish her bachelor’s degree. She scheduled meetings with several local universities, and the first school on her list was Saint Joseph’s.
“I found the idea of going back to school to be very daunting, but the admissions counselor made me feel more confident and reassured me that what I intended to do was feasible,” she says.
It wasn’t until her third year at Saint Joseph’s that Henry glanced back at her passion.
“My hands were feeling better and I really missed art, so I decided to sign up for Drawing I,” she says. “My professor — Steve Cope, M.F.A., assistant professor art — was so inspiring. The class filled a void in my life.” The next semester, she enrolled in a ceramic firings class and Drawing II and added an art minor. Before long, the minor became a major.
Because her art has flourished so much in an academic setting, Henry hopes to continue her studies in graduate school. While she weighs her options, though, she wants to pass the passion on to others.
“I would like to volunteer in places where art education is lacking, especially in Philadelphia public schools,” she says. “One can only hope that art stays in our priorities. I’ve found so much fulfillment this way and I know others can too.”
A full profile about Henry is available on the SJU News website.