Change Agent Finds Niche at Smith

Henry C. Boyd III

Professor, Marketing

 Henry C. Boyd III was just a kindergartner, living on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan, when he began to grasp the importance of education.

“we had just been given our grades,” he recalls. “and i had done very well. i was always a hard charger – a typical straight-a, nerdy student. and i remember a fellow classmate of mine, he hadn’t done very well. and his mother came and picked him up, and when she saw that report card, she literally looked him in the eye and said, ‘you have brought shame upon our family.’”

乐斗电玩城it stopped boyd short. “i thought, ‘wow.’ and at that moment, it crystallized for me that this must be very important, this thing called education.”

it shaped boyd, now a clinical professor of marketing at the university of maryland’s robert h. smith school of business. he would continue to be a fun-loving child – eating sugar cane in its raw form with the other kids on base – but when it came to school, he’d be a serious pupil, curious and determined to learn all he could.

he’s still that way.

boyd and his family lived in okinawa for just two years. at age 7, they moved back to the states – to maryland – where they would stay. his father would earn an mba at the university of maryland university college. his mother would pursue her doctorate in counseling psychology at the university of maryland, college park. in due course, she would become the director of the counseling center at shoemaker building and an associate professor in the school of education. 

boyd would attend fairland elementary, benjamin banneker junior high and paint branch high school in montgomery county, gathering academic and extracurricular accolades. he served as vice president of the national honor society, and was involved in the debate team, the forensics team, student government association, and the “it’s academic” television show.

乐斗电玩城“i was a total nerd,” he says, “before it was chic and cool.”

乐斗电玩城as high school came to an end, boyd applied for admission at the highly selective universities – harvard, yale, princeton, columbia, stanford, and, in as a concession to his dad: west point. (where his application would be granted the prestigious “presidential nomination,” from then-president ronald reagan.)

乐斗电玩城he’d go onto princeton, a university he had fallen in love with during a campus tour, and study chemistry. it was the perfect match for him, he says. “i was always that kid asking why, why, why; i was that inquisitive child,” he says. “i was always seeking answers and new problems to tackle.” 

princeton, he says, was transformational in that it humbled him and motivated him to strive for more. 

“you’re used to being the smartest kid in the room, and now you’re suddenly in the middle of the pack,” he says. “and you quickly come to the realization that now you have to compete, and it forces you to redefine yourself. the princeton experience molded me into a whole person.”

乐斗电玩城he grew beyond the classroom through extracurricular activities, got involved in community outreach. he tried out for the college bowl quiz team and didn’t make the cut. “but it didn’t stop me,” he says. “when i got to my senior year, i would become president of the college bowl team. i had my own squad to manage, my little group of brainiacs. that was a wonderful learning experience for me.” 

it was a mentoring and supporting role. in essence, it was teaching. still, he was years from discovering that teaching was his vocation.

乐斗电玩城he was busy studying inorganic chemistry, with a research specialization in biophysics.  he learned the nuances of raman spectroscopy, under the tutelage of thomas g. spiro and robert a. copeland. it was professor spiro who urged him to consider whether he truly wanted to spend a career as a chemist. 

乐斗电玩城boyd would leave princeton for another coast, earning an mba in marketing from the university of california at berkeley. he’d follow that with a doctorate in marketing theory from duke.

he’d then begin work as a tenure-track professor at the university of wisconsin-madison, where he would meet a distinguished uw alum, david g. walsh who would convince him to use his unique background in business and science to pursue a law degree in intellectual property.

law school spoke to boyd, the son, grandson and namesake of men who worked to make a difference in the world.

his grandfather, henry c. boyd, sr., would attend the university of denver, at a time when black men rarely had a shot at education.  armed with critical thinking and writing skills, he’d open his own businesses in st. louis – boyd & son laundry located on taylor avenue.  subsequently, he would launch cp sandwich & catering to meet the needs of kiosks in downtown office buildings. a natural born leader, he served as secretary treasurer at the national council for negro business. this entity, in time, would become the national urban league. politically astute, boyd, sr. formed friendships with leaders such as ralph abernathy, a close friend and mentor to dr. martin luther king, jr. “he would come over for sunday dinners,” boyd recalls.

乐斗电玩城his father, henry c. boyd, jr., would attend lincoln university, a small historically black college in jefferson city, missouri (the state capital), enrolling when he was just 16. because certain courses were not available at lincoln, he and handful of fellow black students would later help to integrate the university of missouri. the reception they received was a chilling one where white professors often questioned and challenged their worthiness to attend mizzou.

boyd, jr. was drafted into the u.s. army during the korean war, and he later served two tours in vietnam in special forces, rising to the rank of master sergeant. throughout his life, he has remained politically active.  when there were demonstrations in dc to protest apartheid in south africa, for example, he would march alongside max robinson, leon sullivan and eleanor holmes norton.

乐斗电玩城“the constant drumbeat from my father was: you’ve gotta be active; stay involved; get things done,” boyd says.

乐斗电玩城in madison, boyd would teach principles of marketing to large undergraduate audiences inside morgridge auditorium, while earning his law degree. as luck would have it, he’d meet his future wife, isabel on state street at an ethiopian restaurant called baraka. in 2005, they’d move together to maryland, where boyd would begin teaching principles of marketing in frank auditorium at the smith school.

boyd relishes his calling as an educator, and he often thinks about that mother in okinawa.

乐斗电玩城at this point in his life, he muses about someday opening a boutique law firm, as well pursuing a career in politics, in howard county or in the maryland general assembly. 

“growing up, i was always cognizant of the idea that i must be a change agent,” boyd says. “my parents were always stressing that the 1964 civil rights legislation signed into law by president lyndon b. johnson was a turning point for black america. i knew that i had a golden opportunity and i shouldn’t let it slip away. whatever i can do to move that boulder of inclusion forward, i have to be a part of that.”

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