Alumni Profile: Everett Hendrickson

Everett Hendrickson (MBA, 1999, Green) visited college in spring 2023 and subsequently offered these thoughts on his time as a student.

Everett reflects

Everett Hendrickson Profile Pic Outside With Sea BehindWithout question, my year at GTC (1999 to 2000, then still Green College) was one of the most enjoyable and most pivotal in my entire life. My wife Irene heartily agrees. She had just finished medical school and a three-year residency. I had just wrapped up a lengthy and daunting public interest legal case. Each of us had long dreamed of a stint at Oxford, and it seemed the appropriate time for that ‘now or never’ adventure. From sunny and open California, we had some modest concerns about the reputed British reserve, but opted nonetheless to seek fresh horizons.

To our great delight, we immediately discovered how at Green Templeton College a spark of warm geniality enlivened the formal but attractive politesse of Oxford to provide something close to an ideal mix of such attributes. Greatly enhancing the allure of the handsome main buildings and Michael’s [the Head Gardener] beautiful grounds, every staff member, starting but not ending with porters Dan, Nigel, and Martin, proved courteously responsive and even amiable. From the start, then, both of us felt fully accepted and integrated into college life, which by extension magnified the joy of the overall Oxford experience.

Four guests dressed for dinner

What no doubt helped is that GTC is a graduate college, where one finds fellow students with all the intelligence and enthusiasm expected at Oxford, but also with deeper life experience and maturity. The fit between the specialty subject areas at GTC and our own backgrounds was near perfect: social entrepreneurship and associated law (I have a number of design patents, am working on others, and have taught graduate courses and consulted in entrepreneurship); educational theory and historical practice (I hold a PhD in education with a focus on historiography); medicine (as a visiting physician, Irene arranged to shadow paediatric specialists at John Radcliffe Hospital); the overall ethos at GTC favouring sustainability and intercultural respect, exchange and learning.

Indeed, my main summer project in the Saïd Business School MBA course was one expressly aimed at sustainable management of a Belizean eco-diversity hotspot, and one of my teammates of that project, from Chile, lived next door to us on Observatory Street (it turns our his wife was from our home area in California). On the immediate other side was a couple from South Africa, and the six of us, who have stayed friends all these years, shared many great hours together, often joined by various other Green College students from a wide range of countries. The sharing of diverse perspectives proved a tremendous education in its own right, forever altering my life approach and aspirations.

Boat Crew by river in team white shirts with Green College branded blades behindThus, while graduate studies were of course critically important and at times arduous, they were not the whole story, such that the year was anything but staid. One could say we threw ourselves fully into college life – I rowed in the autumn regatta and summer eights, and together we relished formal and informal dinners at the Observatory, several exchange dinners with other colleges, college art exhibits and concerts, the Burns’ Night festivities, the College Ball, fundraising raffles, lively socials hosted by the always approachable Sir John Hanson [then Warden] and Lady Margaret at their home, and any number of other events. We revelled in extraordinarily wide-ranging conversations at the college pub and those nearby, in our parlour on Observatory Street, and in a variety of chance crossings with hugely interesting people. I also thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of intriguing discussions with Sir John about mid-to-long-term college plans regarding, inter alia, the careful evolution of the grounds to match the emerging vision for GTC for the present and future generations.

In my view, the vaunted ‘Oxford experience’ most flourishes, in large part, as a communal exercise of the sort colleges are well positioned to provide. GTC delivered just that setting, atmosphere, and dynamic for us. May it ever be so.