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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

In Memoriam: Richard P. Henke

Knox College Honorary Trustee Richard P. Henke ‘56 passed away at his home Sunday, April 9, surrounded by family. 

Richard P. Henke graduated from Knox College in 1956 with a degree in chemistry. He retired from the practice of pathology and from a position as a clinical professor at the University of California Irvine Medical School. Henke was an active volunteer in his community, in local city government, the library district, and in professional organizations.

While at Knox, he participated in intramural swimming and track, was treasurer of Campus Chest, and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta and served as its president. He graduated cum laude. He attended Stanford University Medical School and received an M.D. in 1960. He had an internship and residencies in internal medicine and pathology at the University of Minnesota, from 1960-1963, and the University of California School of Medicine, from 1963-1966.

Henke was certified by the American Board of Pathology in 1966. He served in private practice as a pathologist in Daly City and Long Beach, California. He was involved in graduate and postgraduate education at the University of California, Irvine; California State University Dominguez Hills; and California State University of Long Beach. 

Henke presented professional education for physicians, nurses, and laboratory technologists. He was affiliated with the American Society for Microbiology, the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control (serving on the Board), the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, and the California Society of Pathologists, where he served as President for two terms.

Henke’s devotion to his family and Knox were evident to all who knew him. He is survived by his loving family, including his son William Henke ’87 and granddaughter Sophia Elswick ‘23. 

Among the many contributions to the College by Henke and his late wife, Sophia Dimitriadis, they endowed the Henke Distinguished Professorship, which supports a faculty member at the full professor or associate level who has demonstrated sustained excellence in undergraduate teaching.

They also established the Richard P. and Sophia D. Henke Music Fund, which supports various initiatives and capital needs of the music department, allowing for a more dynamic and student-centered performance program. The Richard P. and Sophia D. Henke Library Fellowship provides an immersive experience in academic librarianship for students interested in libraries and archives as a possible career.

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Printed on Saturday, February 24, 2024