R. Elton White, a 1965 graduate and former president of global technology company NCR Corporation, will address Berea College seniors about “Success in a Changing World” at the Recognition Ceremony for Mid-Year Graduates on Sunday, December 13. The event will be held in Phelps Stokes Chapel to recognize students who are expected to complete degree requirements at the end of January 2016. The ceremony will be available for live viewing online at: https://livestream.com/accounts/5135608/events/4518873.
White is a retired businessman with more than 40 years of experience. He was employed by NCR Corporation for 27 years where he served as President and Director. He also has served on numerous corporate boards including Kohl’s, Keithley Instruments, Verifone, Conner Peripherals, Flowserve and Duriron. He has been a private investor and philanthropist for more than 20 years.
He was a founding member of the JSTOR Board, an affiliate of the Mellon Foundation. JSTOR was the first organization to digitize scholarly journals for colleges and universities so that they could be accessed on line in order to promote better scholarly research.
A native of Gary, West Virginia, White graduated from Berea College with a BS degree and with an MBA from the University of Kentucky. He has been honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Berea College and was inducted into the initial class of the College of Business and Economics Hall of Fame at the University of Kentucky.
White served on the Berea College Board of Trustees for 28 years, including 18 years as a trustee and 10 years as an honorary trustee. He chaired the board for five years. White is a dedicated public servant focused on changing the lives of families with children living in poverty and homelessness in his local community. Currently he is a board member and chair of the Investment Committee for the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. This foundation has about $250 million in assets and provides over $20 million in annual support to priority needs in local communities along the Gulf Coast. Believing that the cycle of poverty can only be broken through education, he has led a project working with 30 nonprofit organizations to provide a total support system for homeless families with children to help them have the same educational opportunities that all other children have.
White met his wife Gordon Ann (Gordie) while they were students at Berea College. The Whites were recently honored with the 2015 Schoenbaum Humanitarian Award by the Salvation Army. They express great appreciation for Berea College and the opportunity they had for an excellent college education and share a desire to help others improve the quality of their lives.
Berea, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. Berea charges no tuition, admitting only academically promising students, primarily from Appalachia, who have limited economic resources. All students must work 10 hours weekly for the College, earning money for books, room and board. Graduates from Berea go on to distinguish themselves and the College in many fields, living out the College’s scriptural motto “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth (Acts 17:26).”
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