Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Francis Hendricks '79

FHAfter earning two Bachelor of Arts degrees (Criminal Justice Administration and Political Science) from Mansfield State College in May 1979, Hendricks pursued a commission in the United States Air Force. He was commissioned a 2LT on April 1, 1980. He served in a wide variety of command and staff assignments both in the United States and abroad. Of particular note, his assignments included command of DoD's largest installation, serving as the senior military adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force, and being assigned to DARPA where he led and published a study that designed the air base of the future. 

Just prior to his retirement, Hendricks commanded the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) in Dallas, Texas. The Exchange is the 43rd largest retail company in the world, with sales of approximately $10 billion per year. It employs more than 43,000 civilians in 50 states, 5 US Territories and more than 30 countries. 

After 33 years in the United States Air Force, Hendricks retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General and assumed the role of President of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania on May 28th, 2013. He is the first alum to hold the position of President at any of the Pennsylvania state-owned universities.

Question: Why did you choose CJA as a major?

Answer: I chose to come to Mansfield University and major in CJA because I wanted to be a Pennsylvania State Trooper or a FBIPM agent. Mansfield had one of the first CJA programs in the State System, an exceptional faculty and a great reputation for producing outstanding graduates. I am proud that the students of today continue to have the same opportunity I did to study and prepare for their future careers in law enforcement under the tutelage of an outstanding faculty and to contribute to the department's unsurpassed reputation of excellence. 

Question: What advice, career or otherwise, would you give prospective and current CJA students?

Answer: Prepare yourself for any and all opportunities that will present themselves to you. They will be there. When opportunity knocks on your door, you need to have your bags packed and be ready to accept it. Opportunity doesn't wait for you to get ready. Opportunity will come in different sizes and shapes. It quite likely will look different than what you expected or what you were looking for. The mastering of one opportunity will lead to another, then another. Always be ready! Never compromise, never quit and always look for ways to make your team and yourself better. You are on this world for a purpose. Find it, pursue it and leave your mark so others may benefit.

I am proud to be a Mansfield University Alum and its president. My sole purpose and focus is to help the students of today and tomorrow prepare for their life's journey. I am H2S (Here to Serve).


Edmund ("Ed") McGarrell '79EM

Mansfield University BA 1979
University at Albany, State University of New York MA 1981, PhD 1986

School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University

Following graduation from Mansfield, I initially went to law school. Although I was doing well, I also had a nagging feeling that the study of law and the future practice of law were not for me. Fortunately, I had a great dean who said, "Hey, law is not for everyone and if you're not sure, take a leave of absence and give yourself some time." I found temporary work and later asked a CJA Professor for a letter of reference. He asked me if I ever considered graduate study in criminal justice. Frankly, I did not even know that was a possibility as this was a fairly new type of graduate program. I ended up going tot he School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany earning a PhD in 1986.

During my graduate study I found that I really enjoyed being involved in research and the thought of becoming a professor who could combine research with my early interest in teaching was very appealing. I was fortunate to be hired by the Department of Criminal Justice at Indiana University. I spent two years at Washington State University and returned to Indiana University where I also served as chair of the Department. In 2001, I was privileged to assume the position of Director of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, the nation's oldest such program. I served as Director through 2014 when I returned to the role of Professor.

My research focuses on communities and crime with a particular focus on violence prevention and control. Much of my scholarship follows an action research model of working in partnership with criminal justice agencies where research is used in a problem solving fashion. Ideally, this involves using research to better understand local crime problems, implementing and assessing strategies, and developing evidence-based practice. This type of research has given me a greater appreciation of the complexity of crime and justice and made me a better teacher.

Question: Why did you choose CJA as a major?

Answer: When I was considering colleges, my initial interest was in becoming a high school teacher and coach. I chose to attend Mansfield University because of its strong reputation for education and teacher preparation. Upon returning to campus for the second semester of my freshman year, I had a serious sledding accident that resulted in surgery and time at home recuperating. A CJA Professor agreed to an independent study to keep me from falling too far behind in my academic progress. The study focused on discretion across the criminal justice system. It opened up my eyes about the day-to-day operations of the criminal justice system and also how researchers study crime and justice issues. I wasn't immediately convinced about majoring in criminal justice administration but it piqued my interest. That led to additional coursework. I was also attracted to the fact that the CJA major, that was a brand new program at MU,was so interdisciplinary.The ability to put together a major that included criminal justice with a variety of social science courses was very attractive and ultimately led to CJA as my major.

Question: What advice, career or otherwise, would you give prospective and current CJA students? 

Answer: Take advantage of what Mansfield University has to offer. I am sure much has changed at MU since my time as an undergraduate, but I bet the commitment to liberal education by committed teachers remains the same. I have long felt fortunate to have had a number of outstanding teachers at MU who helped me develop critical thinking and writing skills. These are skills I use every day as a professor but they are also skills that would have helped in any profession.

Become involved. While at MU, I was able to participate in an internship at the prison in my hometown of Elmira, New York. This was an outstanding experience that allowed me to get a sense of the field of criminal justice and begin to put my MU education to practice.Whether it is an internship, an independent study, volunteer work, or other extra-curricular activities, getting a wide range of experience will serve you well.