White an Inspiration to All

Thomas J. Heeren (’89) Wichita, Kansas

I was saddened to hear of the passing of the late President John W. White. He touched my life by letting me have a historic part of Nebraska Wesleyan University’s life.

I have two memories of White when I was in college. First was when I first visited Nebraska Wesleyan University on a cold January morning in 1984 with my parents. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the possibility of having me as an incoming freshman with a disability at NWU. I was a high school senior then who was supposed to go to Gallaudet University, but, like most high school seniors in the state, I had some second thoughts about leaving Nebraska.

My father wrote a letter to President White asking him to arrange a meeting between my parents, Nebraska Wesleyan University administrators and me. I was very nervous that they would feel queasy meeting a young high school senior with a disability. But the visit reduced their worries as we discussed having me attend Nebraska Wesleyan University.

I was touched and pleased at the same time when I got my acceptance letter from President White. My family was excited and proud of me.

The second memory was when I accepted my Bachelor of Arts degree in English from President White on May 21, 1989. I felt honored to receive my degree and express my thanks to Dr. White for letting me touch the NWU faculty, students and staff ’s hearts. I was proud of him for being an inspiration to all NWU alumni with disabilities and without disabilities.

With the passing of Harold Hall, John White, Bill Kloefkorn and Leon Satterfield, we alumni have suffered a great loss. But we feel indebted for the way they have touched our hearts. May God bless them with open arms!