John A. White

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John A. White Jr.
John White teaches engineering econ.jpg
John White at the University of Arkansas
4th Chancellor of the
University of Arkansas
In office
Preceded byDaniel E. Ferritor
Succeeded byG. David Gearhart
Personal details
Born (1939-12-05) December 5, 1939 (age 82)
Portland, Arkansas
Spouse(s)Mary Elizabeth Quarles White
ResidenceRogers, Arkansas
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
EducationUniversity of Arkansas
Virginia Tech
The Ohio State University
ProfessionDistinguished professor of industrial engineering and chancellor emeritus, University of Arkansas

John Austin White Jr (born December 5, 1939) is an American academic who was the fourth chancellor of the University of Arkansas. He succeeded Daniel Ferritor in 1997 after previously serving as the dean of Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Engineering. As chancellor, White transformed the University of Arkansas; including the $1 billion "Campaign for the 21st Century" capital campaign, which created the University of Arkansas Honors College, endowed the University of Arkansas Graduate School and UA Libraries, added 132 tenured faculty, 1738 scholarships and fellowships, funded millions of dollars of brick and mortar improvements, and grew the university by almost every academic statistic.[1] Since his departure from the chancellor's office in 2008, White has remained at the university, teaching in the industrial engineering department.

University of Arkansas[edit]

"In the future, I believe historians will identify this day as a defining moment, an inflection point, a turning point, for the University of Arkansas. Today, we send a message, loud and clear, to the nation’s best universities: move over! The University of Arkansas is joining your ranks; it will stand equally, shoulder to shoulder, with the best universities this nation has to offer!"

—John White, announcing the Campaign for the 21st Century on October 26, 2001[2]

White left his job as dean of Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Engineering in order to become chancellor at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas in 1997. Promising to be an agent of change, White worked to shift the focus of the institution onto academics, including research and knowledge-based careers the state would need to compete in the global economy. Under his leadership, the university embarked on the "Campaign for the 21st Century", an ambitious capital campaign initially set for a goal of $500 million, despite having a total endowment of only $119 million in 1997.[2][3]

The Campaign for the Twenty-First Century allowed for the creation of the University of Arkansas Honors College, while endowing University Libraries and the University of Arkansas Graduate School. In the classroom, 132 faculty positions were endowed and 1,738 scholarships and fellowships were added. New donors accounted for a significant portion of the Campaign, with 41,600 of 72,641 total donors giving to UA academics for their first time. Benefactors made 304,328 individual gifts and pledges by the campaign's end in 2005.[1] The largest gift was $300 million, pledged by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the largest gift in the history of public education philanthropy at the time.[4] White and his wife contributed $1.5 million to endow a systems integration chair in industrial engineering department.[5]


In 1987, White was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for "the creative development of engineering principles and computational procedures used in the design and analysis of material handling systems".[6]

John A. White Jr. Engineering Hall on the University of Arkansas campus

White was elected to the 2002 class of Fellows of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.[7] He was named to the Virginia Tech Academy of Engineering Excellence in 2011.[8]

In 2012, Engineering Hall was renamed "John A. White Jr. Engineering Hall" in honor of White.[9] The collegiate gothic structure was originally completed in 1925 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property in the University of Arkansas Campus Historic District.[10]

He was given honorary doctorates by George Washington University and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.[citation needed]


Born in Portland, Arkansas on December 5, 1939, and a 1957 high school graduate of Harrison, Arkansas, White is married to the former Mary Elizabeth Quarles, whom he married in 1963. They have two children and four grandchildren. His son, John A. White III, is president and CEO of a facility logistics company.


He received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (B.S.I.E.) in 1962 from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, received his Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, (M.S.I.E.) in 1966 from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, and his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 1969 from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Strickland, Danielle (October 26, 2011). "Ten Years Since Public Launch of $1 Billion Effort". University of Arkansas. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "University of Arkansas Kicks Off Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, Announces Unprecedented $500 Million Goal". University of Arkansas. October 26, 2001. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "1997- 2008 John A. White". University of Arkansas. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  4. ^ Cottingham, Jan (July 2, 2012). "Wealth Created by Wal-Mart Supports Massive Philanthropic Efforts in Arkansas". Arkansas Business. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  5. ^ "News". Arkansas Business. Little Rock, Arkansas: Arkansas Business Publishing Group. June 20, 2005. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ "Dr. John A. White, Jr".
  7. ^ Fellows: Alphabetical List, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, archived from the original on 2019-05-10, retrieved 2019-10-09
  8. ^ "John White Honored by Virginia Tech". University of Arkansas. February 25, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  9. ^ "Engineering Hall renamed John A. White Jr. Engineering Hall". University of Arkansas, College of Engineering, Industrial Engineering Department. March 30, 2012. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.

External links[edit]

  • INFORMS: Biography of John A. White from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences