Former SCC President Dick White passed away Thursday, December 16, 2010 after a long battle with cancer.
White began his career at SCC in 1965 as Dean of Students, moving into the position of President only one year later, where he stayed until his retirement in 1981.
VP John Backes was a librarian at the college during White's tenure. "Dick was the first president to come from Student Services," he said, noting his commitment to students. "He always listened carefully. Whatever the issue, Dick wanted to hear what you thought about it," he recalled. Backes said that White built a strong transfer faculty and was instrumental in the foundation of the college's professional technical programs. He also remembers White being very involved with the legislature and the early stages of the State Board.
John Terrey, recognized and honored for his work as the man behind the state's community college system, holds great respect for White. "He had it all. He was just a remarkable man," he said. Terrey said that White played a key role in the relationship between Shoreline and the University of Washington, forming a strong rapport with a dean at the university who had formerly been a president at another area college. "Dick worked quietly at it," Terrey said. "It was really amazing as before then there was not that kind of relationship." (Terrey was deputy director of the State Board for several years before his role as director from 1978 to 1987. It was under his leadership that Washington state's community college system evolved into a national model.)
White was also very active in the community, holding several positions including president of the Washington Association of Community Colleges, chair of the YMCA board, and a member of the PEMCO board of directors. He earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees at Washington State University.
Although he was unable to attend the SCC Foundation Breakfast in November, White was on campus for the PEMCO Foundation Board meeting in April, at which time he had the opportunity to visit the Professional Automotive Training Center.
Upon his request, there will be no memorial service. His family and friends do plan to have some kind of get-together in the spring.