UM Class of ’53 graduate still loves to learn

Everyone has heard of fifth-year seniors on campus, but UM student Capt. Robert Henin holds the record for being the only 50th-year senior, continuing to take classes at UM long after graduating.
Among Henin’s many accomplishments, he is a Guinness World Record holder for the more than 1,000 hotel baggage labels that he has collected over the years; he has a street in France named for him; he has traveled 20,000 miles in 26 days for a mere $380; and he has recently published a novel entitled One Joy Equals Two Sorrows.
“Everything in the novel happened to me or somebody I knew,” Henin said. “I felt that these stories had to be told.”
Henin also served as a captain in the infantry during World War II, where he earned three purple hearts and a badge of courage for heroism in combat. He was injured in three different countries by a machine gun, a mortar shell and a hand grenade.
In 1966, Henin ran for the Florida State legislature but came in second. He also owns an oil well in Florida, though it’s currently inactive. “I’ll show you a picture of me standing next to the oil coming out of the ground,” Henin said.
Henin received his undergraduate degree in medical technology in 1953 from UM. He has since taken more than 49 courses. “My favorite subjects are history, religion and astronomy – I’m fascinated by space,” he said.
Henin was also married for 18 years before his wife passed away from cancer. He never had any children. “That’s the one thing I never got to do,” he said.
Henin says he wants to pass on his knowledge to younger students. “Have fun. The learning will come,” he said. “Retain the beautiful memories of your college years – all the nutty things you can think to do, do them now, but don’t hurt anyone in the process.”
Someday you’ll look back and you won’t remember 90 percent of the things you learned in college, but you’ll remember the time you jumped into the lake in your bra and panties,” Henin said.
Henin summed up the most important things he’s learned in life to a few short sentences.
“Never underestimate your enemies. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are the center of the universe,” he said. “Always be your own stepping stones.”