On the eve of his May 30 wedding, GSAS doctoral student Andrew Henscheid was on his way to the ceremony rehearsal when he got a call concerning the farthest thing from his mind.
“Mr. Henscheid,” a voice on the line said. “Are you still available to take a 2009 Fulbright fellowship to Denmark?”
Henscheid had been wait-listed for the prestigious award in the spring, but had pretty much “written it off” as summer began and wedding details began to consume his life. His fiancé Sarah, a chemist, had been offered a new job in Portland, Oregon, and they’d decided to move there following the nuptials.
“When I got the call I was totally caught off guard,” recalled the philosophy student. “And happily shocked. But I knew I needed some time to think.”
‘Go ahead. Take the weekend,’ the Fulbright office told him.
It goes without saying that Henscheid’s attention was elsewhere the following day, but as the newly married couple left for their honeymoon that Sunday, they pondered their future.
“We didn’t want to spend our first married year apart,” recalled Henscheid, “But Sarah had committed to the job. We had to make a choice.” They opted for the Fulbright.
On August 25, the couple leaves for Copenhagen, Denmark, where Henscheid will do his doctoral dissertation/Fulbright research on “Love’s Authority: Søren Kierkegaard and the Question of Autonomy.” Henscheid was the last Fordham student to be awarded a Fulbright this year, helping achieve a record number of prestigious awards at the university. He will spend ten months at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre along with approximately 34 international scholars studying the 19th century Danish philosopher from literary, theological and philosophical perspectives.
He credited Martin Chase, S.J., associate professor of English, with encouraging him to apply and Fordham’s Matteo Ricci summer scholarship program with helping him develop his thesis.
The work of Kierkegaard has long inspired Henscheid, who did his undergraduate thesis on the philosopher and who chose Fordham because of its strong philosophy program.
“What I love about Kierkegaard is that he gives priority to tangibly human themes,” he said. “His questions concern how one might best live a human life, and he picks up on the themes of love, hope, and despair. I’ve always liked the answers that he’s given to those questions—love being the most important answer to the question of how to live.”
With a little negotiating, Henscheid’s wife was able to postpone the start date on her new job. So the Fulbright, he said, has inadvertently made a great wedding gift. “It gives us an extended honeymoon.”