FAYETTEVILLE, AR - John A. White, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville for the last seven years, is expected to announce today that he is stepping down.
An Arkansas native and engineer by training, White began his tenure in 1997 with a challenge to the community, state and university alumni to raise the national profile of the Fayetteville campus. A year later, the school began a successful campaign to raise $1 billion, which included a $300 million gift from the Watson family, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, in 2002...the largest ever to a public university in the U.S.
University board trustee Jane Rogers and a source close to the school told The Associated Press that it was likely White would step down. Rogers would not elaborate.
Born in Portland, Arkansas, and a UA graduate, White was hired in 1997 from Georgia Tech, where he brought the graduate school in engineering up to fifth best in the country in just a few years. He said then that it would be the best last time he would relocate.
White grew up in communities around the state, as his parents taught school. He graduated from Harrison High School and received his bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1961. White got his master's in industrial engineering from Virginia Tech in 1966 and his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1969.
From 1988 to 1991, he served as assistant director of engineering at the National Science Foundation in Washington. He also was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton to the National Science Board and was one of two U.S. delegates to the International Intelligent Manufacturing System steering committee.