It was a simple act when Texas A&M Mays Business School professor Henry Musoma told one of his undergraduate students to bring her son to class. The young student — a single parent — had sought the professor for alternative ways to get the lesson for that day’s class. Since her babysitter fell through, she would have to miss class that day.
Or so she thought. Professor Musoma’s response was simple: “bring him.”
A photo of Musoma carrying baby Emmett while pacing the lecture hall as he taught a room full of students was the kind that can instantly go viral. It had all the qualities: it was outside the ordinary, it was compassionate, it was human. But more than anything, it was inspiring and it was authentic.
It’s these factors that have taken Professor Musoma from his Texas campus all the way to the center stage on the Ellen Show, a feature segment CBS Morning, and countless other media spotlights in between including People and Mashable.
But for students and the Mays community, unusual acts of kindness from Musoma are the norm. Whether it’s providing a lift from Houston to A&M’s campus in College Station because a student doesn’t have transportation, visiting another student’s father in the hospital after an accident, or passing around a collection bin to help a student afford a textbook, going above and beyond is what he does. “Now the whole world gets to see what we already knew,” said one former student about the professor’s new found notoriety from national press.
SO WHO IS HENRY MUSOMA?
On paper, Musoma is a foreign national who immigrated to the U.S. two decades ago from the African country of Zambia. He came to the U.S. to obtain an education with the goal of returning to his native land and working in some capacity of international development. Gradually, he says, the switch took place beginning in his junior year of college when a professor, and eventual friend and mentor Joe Townsend, asked him to speak to a class about where he was from and why he had come to the states.
Thirteen years and one doctorate degree from Texas Christian University later, Musoma is a beloved business professor who teaches undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses tied to management and ethical leadership.
“The reason we study management is because people suck,” he emphatically shares with students. “And then ultimately I say, ‘Not other people. I’m talking about us. When we’re great, we’re really great. When we’re horrible we’re really horrible. That continuum is why we have to study management.’ I try to teach them to have a sense of optimism but wrestle with the fact we live in a world that is not always kind.”
At Mays, he also serves as assistant director of the Center for International Business and he’s a faculty member involved with Regents Scholar Program where he leads a learning environment for first generation college students, founded RAP (Regent’s Ambassador Program) which offers freshmen and sophomore Regents’ Scholars personal and professional leadership development opportunities, and each year takes 15 of the students on a finale trip to his home country of Zambia and other regions throughout Africa.
Looking beyond his resume, Musoma says who and what he is is simply grateful. “Deep at the heart of who I am, I am a grateful human being,” he says. “Deeply grateful. I think that informs how I live. The root? I’ve been given much. When I think about the fact I’m one generation away from a mud hut. My father who was born in 1948 grew up in a mud hut in a village in the northern part of Zambia. Just about forty or fifty years ago, no one in my family could hardly read or write. So to have this privilege to be teaching is mind blowing you know?”