ETBU Honors Retiring Dr. David Whiteby Mike Midkiff
MARSHALL, Texas (5/01/13)- East Texas Baptist University said farewell to a long-time School of Christian Studies professor who has invested 30 years of his life at the university. Current faculty, staff, and students, along with long-time friends and colleagues paid tribute to Dr. David White, Professor of Religion, during a retirement reception held on Monday, April 29, in the Phillips Great Room of the Bennett Student Commons.
"There is not a student on our campus that would not say they did not count Dr. White as a friend,” said ETBU Provost and Vice President Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, as she addressed the many well-wishers. "Dr. White is one of those faculty persons who always had kind words or an open office door.”
Dr. White, and his wife Brenda, have faithfully shown their support of students by attending student events; like athletic contests, fine arts performances, and other extracurricular events in which students are involved.
The Dean of the School of Christian Studies Dr. John Harris shared with the audience facts about what was occurring in the year 1983 when Dr. White began his teaching career at ETBU. He reminded everyone that 30 years ago, Motorola introduced the mobile phone; a first class stamp cost 20 cents, the final episode of M*A*S*H aired on CBS, and Dr. Jerry Dawson was the president of ETBU.
Dr. Harris concluded his presentation by saying, "David, we appreciate you and your faithful service to ETBU. It has been a wonderful pleasure to have served with you.”
Dr. White shared with the well wishers gathered, "I have been very fortunate to be at this school and serve in the Religion department with folks I have come to love and appreciate. I have been amazed how God has worked in the lives of the students after they have graduated.”
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native estimates that he has taught over 8,500 ETBU students over the years. White came to ETBU in 1983 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) where he served as the director of the Children’s Center. He is a graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma State University. Dr. White earned both his master’s degree and doctorate from SWBTS, with additional study at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
ETBU graduating senior Kingsley Demakpor from Euless said, "If I could describe Dr. White with one word, I would say he is humble. The culture I was brought up in, values men of humility. I saw that in him and I want to have that characteristic in my life and be like him.”
Demakpor, who moved to the United States 13 years ago from Ghana, Africa, also shared how over the past three years as a student, Dr. White not only was his professor but had become his mentor and friend.
ETBU President Dr. Dub Oliver presented him a crystal bowl engraved with the seal of the university, and said, "We are very grateful for your service to East Texas Baptist University.” A retirement gift was also presented to Dr. White by Faculty Senate president Dr. Kathleen Mayes.
At Spring Commencement this Saturday, May 4, Dr. White will be the Mace Bearer for the final time. The Mace is carried by the senior faculty member at all academic processions. A total of 181 will be receiving degrees, 150 bachelor’s degrees and 31 master’s degrees.
(Photo by Ryan Perry)