Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones presents professor Henry Musoma with the first Mays Business School Spirit Award. From left: Ashton Robinson, Musoma, Jones, Marty Loudder, associate dean of undergraduate programs; Wendy Boswell, head of the management department and Duane Ireland, executive associate dean.
By Kelli Levey Reynolds, Texas A&M University Mays Business School
The story of Mays Business School Professor Henry Musoma and student Ashton Robinson has surprised them both as it has rippled through personal and corporate social media outlets worldwide.
Robinson, a single mom, told Musoma last Thursday she would not be able to attend class because she couldn’t find a babysitter. Instead of giving her the class notes, as she had asked, Musoma encouraged her to bring the baby to class. Toward the end of the class period, Musoma – the father of four – picked up a restless young Emmett and held him as he finished his lecture.
Robinson posted on Facebook how impactful Musoma’s gesture was to her: “Being a single mom is so challenging but it’s people like Dr. Henry Musoma that make life just a tiny bit easier! THIS is why I’m so proud to be an Aggie! Definitely something I’ll never forget and can’t wait to someday tell Emmett that it’s because of people like this that mommy was able to graduate from the best university in the world.”
Five hours later, those six lines had spread worldwide, and Musoma heard from friends, former students, the president of Texas A&M University, and family members in his home country of Zambia, Africa.
“I never imagined such a thing would happen,” Musoma said. “I was just trying to make sure she had the support she needs to succeed – as I would for any student.”
Musoma teaches “Ethical Decision Making and Conduct” at Mays and International Leadership at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
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During that same class period Thursday, Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones surprised Musoma with an award – the first Mays Business School Spirit Award. The plaque reads, “For your selfless service and dedication to students and their educational needs and pursuits and for your heart for building community.”
“One of the things that we pride ourselves on at Mays Business School is having a community that’s connected, a community that’s caring. That’s all part of our Strategic Plan,” Jones said. “But he’s not doing it for the Strategic Plan. He’s not doing it because of our culture, necessarily. He’s doing it because this is who he is.”
Jones was joined in the auditorium by Marty Loudder, associate dean of undergraduate programs; Duane Ireland, executive associate dean; and Wendy Boswell, head of the management department.
After a few moments of silence, Musoma broke into an impromptu lecture. “When you do kind deeds you never die. So when you are a generous person, you have no fear of death.”
Then in another act of selflessness, he led the class in singing “Happy birthday” to one of the students.
This story by Kelli Levey Reynolds originally appeared in Mays Impacts.