JACKSON, Tenn. – June 30, 2014 – Trustee Emeritus Roy L. White passed away at his home June 26 at the age of 77.
White served from 1995-2008 on both the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees for Union University. He received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Union in 1999. He was named an emeritus trustee in 2008.
White was the lead donor for Union’s science building, which was named in his honor when it was dedicated in May 2007. The building houses the departments of biology and chemistry, as well as the school of nursing.
“I really think God laid that on my heart,” White said following the ceremony about his decision to give the lead gift for the building. “The students who go through this building, I think will touch mankind throughout the whole world. I think God has got his hand on Union University. I am just delighted and privileged to be a part of it.”
White’s father passed away when Roy was only three years old, and Roy dropped out of school at the age of 15 to help support his family. He served in the U.S. Army, and then began working for various medical companies. White then started his own firm that specialized in workers compensation medications. His initial office was his kitchen, but the company, South Central Medical, Inc., eventually expanded to employ 125 workers.
He later sold the company and formed an investment firm called White Investments, LLC. He became a generous partner in Union University’s growth.
“Before I really got involved with Union, I started walking through the halls of Union and talking to students,” White said in 2006. “I would listen, and a lot of the things students would talk about at Union University were not discussed at public institutions.”
In addition to his service as a trustee and his financial gifts for buildings and scholarships, he sponsored the Roy L. White Legacy Golf & Gala, a Union fund raising event held in the spring that encompassed both a golf tournament and a banquet. Keynote speakers at the event included former National Football League quarterbacks Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, and Terry Bradshaw, as well as former NFL head coach Tony Dungy and University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.
White is survived by his wife Martha, six children, 14 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. A funeral service was held at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson on June 30.