Arcadia Legacies Henderson-White ’02MEd and Scott ’23 Share Commitment to Public Service

By Andrea E. Walls | February 12, 2020

Marcia Henderson-White ’02MEd and her granddaughter Ebony Scott ’23 have a close relationship built on loving support, mutual admiration, dedication to public service, and their cherished connection to Arcadia.

Though Henderson-White’s and Scott’s collegiate experiences are separated by more than two decades, they chose to become Knights and seek the same transformative opportunities and institutional hallmarks that define an Arcadia education. 

“Living in Mount Airy, I would often drive past the Castle, and it intrigued me,” Henderson-White said about her first impressions of the University. “Then I came here as a graduate student, and fell in love with the beautiful campus and the caring community.”

Arcadia Legacy Families

Arcadia legacy families include students with family members—parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles—who have graduated from Arcadia University and Beaver College. They make an Arcadia education a family tradition.

 After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from Temple University, Henderson-White worked with computer applications for many years before making the transition to secondary education. In 1994, she launched her career as a middle and high school educator for the School District of Philadelphia, focusing on the Career Technical Education Certification, a program that not only provided students with invaluable technical experience but also helped them gain the skills needed for gainful employment after graduation. Within a few years, Henderson-White wanted to enhance her knowledge of computer applications and share her programming expertise with students in her classroom. She enrolled as a part-time graduate student at Arcadia, then Beaver College, while working as a teacher and taking care of her family.

Henderson-White credits the graduate program for unique learning experiences that helped her grow as an educator and advanced her career. “I learned so much, and most importantly, I knew someone at the University was always there to help and be kind,” she explained.

Back in the classroom, Henderson-White helped her students design webpages, compose digital music using iOS-based GarageBand, troubleshoot computer applications, understand multiple operating systems, and budget points to earn treats from the reward-based store, which the students managed. Their year-long efforts culminated at the Future Business Leaders of America’s annual competition in Hershey, Pa., where students showcased their public speaking skills and entrepreneurship aspirations. Under Henderson-White’s leadership, the students spent four days competing with fellow Pennsylvania middle and high schoolers, exploring career opportunities, and learning about scholarships.

When Henderson-White received a master’s degree during Graduate Commencement in 2002, Scott—then two years old—accompanied her grandmother while visiting campus for the first time. She returned to Arcadia as a first-year student in August 2019, continuing the legacy established by Henderson-White two decades earlier.

Scott felt the legacy seed planted by her grandmother started to bloom through her own learning experiences on campus.

“I feel comfortable at Arcadia because it is a home away from home,” Scott said. “I have close friendships, professors are easy to talk to, and students keep each other focused. It’s the extra push to make sure you’re doing the best that you can.”

In January 2020, Scott traveled to London, England as a participant in the First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE). Having the option to study abroad early in her collegiate journey played a significant role in choosing Arcadia, as did the chance to engage with London’s culture, people, and traditions. She plans to visit Paris, France with the FYSAE cohort in late February. 

Like Henderson-White, Scott is committed to helping communities through educational programs and health services. The Public Health major spent time last summer training to be an EMT through the University’s Emergency Medical Services Training Certification program, a collaboration between Arcadia’s Department of Public Health and the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety. Scott completed multiple patient care rounds at Holy Redeemer Hospital, taking vitals and interacting with medical staff. She also coached at the Philadelphia 76ers Basketball Camp, which offers children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game and to interact with NBA players.

Scott’s passion for educating children helps guide her work as an afterschool teaching assistant at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy in Wyncote, Pa. Not long ago, she attended Ancillae-Assumpta as an elementary school student and returned to help teach a new generation. It is here that Scott adopted the learning institution’s mission, “educating students for love and with love to be prepared to make a difference,” as her mantra.

Henderson-White and Scott continue to fulfill a deep-rooted family commitment to compassionate public service, one that has been nurtured by five generations of resilient women who pursued post-secondary educations and careers as teachers, nurses, and social workers. After 25 years of service with the School District of Philadelphia, Henderson-White retired in 2016. Now, she enjoys participating in many activities and, most of all, encouraging Scott on her path toward a career in public health administration. 

There are more memories in the making, both at home and abroad, for Henderson-White and Scott. Looking ahead, they are excited to come back to campus together to celebrate Alumni Family Weekend in May 2023, as alumnae connected by pride in their alma mater and the special bond between devoted grandmothers and granddaughters.