Christendom’s founder, Dr. Warren H. Carroll, famously said “one man can make a difference.” Carroll used that quote often when speaking of the great heroes of the past, but the quote is just as applicable to people today — including Henry Wingate, Sr. Father of three Christendom alumni, Wingate is now seeing five of his grandchildren — Philip O’Herron, Annie Lauderback, Andrew Willson, and Agnes and Hugh Wingate — all join Christendom’s Class of 2024 this fall. Wingate had a tremendous impact on these five cousins, imparting to them a love of classical education and an example of faith to emulate — making a difference in their lives for the better as a result.
According to Philip O’Herron, the influence of Wingate has been far and wide on his life. From introducing him to baseball to tutoring him in Latin, Wingate has been important to him throughout his life.
“No matter how often I failed to complete my homework or how much I didn’t want to do Latin, he was always, though firm, extremely patient and kind,” relates O’Herron, who is the son of alumni Phil (’00) and Elizabeth (Wingate ’99) O’Herron and also the grandson of Raymund O’Herron, one of the founders of Christendom. “I believe that he just taught us for the sake of a good education, and it has, and will, bear practical fruits, such as grammar and a start on most languages, as well. [Henry] and his wife, Susan, have always been a beautiful and important part in my life.”
O’Herron is close with each of his cousins, despite being the only one to not live in Virginia (O’Herron is, instead, a resident of Georgia). The rest, especially Andrew Willson and Agnes and Hugh Wingate, all grew up relatively close to each other, with Agnes living just five minutes from her grandparents. That proximity meant that Henry and his wife were a constant in her life — including Henry’s teaching of Latin.
“I grew up five minutes away from my grandparents, so I have always known my grandfather very well my whole life,” says Agnes, who is the daughter of famous artist Henry Wingate, Jr., and alumna Mary Wingate (’00). “He has taught me and almost every single grandchild Latin throughout the years. His dedication and desire to help us all learn impacted me from a young age.”
That same story — of a grandfather dedicated to his grandchildren’s education — is echoed across the five cousins. Another story is the same as well: of a grandfather, in love with his Catholic Faith, that set an example of faithfulness for his grandchildren.
“The frequency of seeing my grandparents every week for years…certainly had a large impact on me, especially their faithfulness in attending Mass every day for years,” says Andrew Willson, who has seen each of his six older siblings attend Christendom so far.
Annie Lauderback, who resides in Northern Virginia, agrees with her cousin Andrew’s assessment as well.
“He has definitely influenced me in my knowledge of classics and in my Catholic faith,” says Annie. “At some point, our grandfather has taught all five of us [cousins] Latin and Grammar over many years. He knows the value of learning the classics and has pushed me in learning them as well.”
Wingate is now 80 years old, but his impact on these five cousins can now be seen in the results — each of them is set to attend Christendom this fall, ready to continue that classical education they honed with their grandfather in Christendom’s liberal arts classes.
Having multiple cousins to rely on is appealing to each of the cousins as they await their arrival in August. According to them, they will have “built-in friends” before they even arrive at school, but will also now have the chance to get to know each other in a deeper way as they go through college together.
“Most people don’t know anyone their freshman year of college, so it will be nice having a few built-in friends the first year. However, it will be great to get to know all of them better and on a deeper level as well,” says Lauderback.
Each of the five cousins is united by common threads, from a shared Catholic faith to a background in Latin and grammar. Those two shared aspects were both shaped for the better by their grandfather — a tremendous impact on their lives, who will now be able to watch each of them thrive at Christendom after seeing three of his own children do the same.
“One man can make a difference,” said Dr. Carroll. Henry Wingate, Sr., fits that description well, with his commitment to education and to his Catholic faith positively impacting not only his own children but his grandchildren as well, as they now move forward to impact the lives of countless others through their Christendom education.