Isaac Henderson sits near the Rotunda on UVA grounds.

Class of 2024: Isaac Henderson

With his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, Isaac Henderson will be the third generation in his family to graduate from the UVA School of Education and Human Development.

Audrey Breen

As an athlete, a student of martial arts, and a dancer, Isaac Henderson has been interested in human movement for as long as he can remember. And as the son and grandson of University of Virginia alumni, he has also been familiar with UVA for about as long. 

Even so, the Virginia Beach native didn’t discover that he would belong here, too, until he spent time on Grounds as a high school student and started exploring possible majors.

“I did a couple of different summer programs at UVA after my sophomore and junior years of high school, and the school just felt very natural to me," said Henderson. "I just felt very at home."

Henderson then began exploring majors and stumbled upon kinesiology.

“When I realized kinesiology was the study of human movement and I realized UVA had one of the best programs for it, it just really fell into place,” Henderson said.

Henderson jumped into his kinesiology studies right away. He especially appreciated learning how the human body works at the cellular level and how those functions relate to its larger systems, like muscle groups and joints. 

“Once those connections started to click in that way, I think that was something that I appreciated a lot,” Henderson said. “It helps you understand, why does your body work like this?"

Isaac Henderson, wearing a hat, stands with his father and his mother.
Isaac's father, Randolph “Ray” Benjamin Henderson III (bottom) and his mother, Crystal Camil Davis Henderson (right), both earned degrees from the UVA School of Education and Human Development. Contributed photo.

When he earns his bachelor’s degree in May, Henderson will officially become the third generation in his family to graduate not just from UVA, but from the School of Education and Human Development. His grandmother, Vanessa Charmaine Gray Henderson, earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1977. His mother, Crystal Camil Davis Henderson, earned her Master of Teaching in 2003. And his father, Randolph “Ray” Benjamin Henderson III, earned his Master of Education in 2002.

“Isaac is the 3rd generation in our family to graduate from the UVA School of Education and Human Development,” said Vanessa Gray Henderson, Isaac’s grandmother. “He is continuing the legacy of being well educated and equipped to meet any world challenges. 

Isaac Henderson stands next to his grandmother.
Isaac Henderson stands with his grandmother, Vanessa Charmaine Gray Henderson, the day he joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. She earned her B.S.Ed. in 1977 from the UVA School of Education and Human Development. Contributed photo.

"Top-ranked professors, fellow students who challenged me to be my best, and education experiences prepared me to help change the lives of my future students. I maintain that it is one thing to be admitted to UVA; it’s another thing to finish and to finish well.”

Isaac Henderson’s parents met at UVA, and as they near his graduation, they are also reflecting on the legacy of the moment. “Having my son, Isaac, graduating from UVA this year is an amazing blessing,” Isaac’s mother, Crystal Henderson, said. “It's a full circle moment!”

Honored to be a part of his family’s legacy, Henderson is especially proud to have made his time at UVA his own, including dancing with UVA’s competitive hip-hop dance crew, X-Tasee, joining the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and adding a minor in African American Studies.

“The community that I’ve built has definitely shaped who I am as a person and my whole experience at UVA,” he said. “The way that we rally around each other, the way that we support each other, the way that we celebrate each other's wins and go through each other's losses and everything—that support system has been huge for me."

During his time at UVA, Henderson was already making connections between his academic work and what will become his professional practice by serving as a personal trainer with UVA’s recreation department. After graduation, he will begin a personal training internship with Lifetime Fitness in the Northern Virginia area. He ultimately hopes to create a space for other individuals to combine movements like hip hop, step and martial arts in their fitness and wellness efforts.

Class of 2024 Graduation Profiles

We invite you to get to know a few members of the UVA EHD Class of 2024 as we celebrate the accomplishments of the entire class.

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Audrey Breen