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Dr. Gregory White retires from College of Business

August 21, 2009, Adam Casper

${image-alt} Dr. Gregory White

The College of Business will soon say goodbye to a respected colleague. Dr. Gregory White, former Management Department Chair, has retired from his duties with the College.

On August 25, from 5-7:00pm, White’s peers will honor his years of service at the Stone Center with a retirement reception. White came to Southern Illinois University as an Assistant Professor in 1978, and finished his service at the College of Business as a Management Chair, Professor, and friend to many. White has already passed on his Chairmanship duties to Dr. Peter Mykytyn and has been very helpful in assisting Mykytyn’s adjustment. Mykytyn commented, “Dr. White has always been a real pleasure to work with. I have learned a lot from him and he has stayed around to show me the little nuances [of Chairmanship] that go a long way.”

White’s areas of research and teaching have been operations management and management science, with primary focus on operations strategy and competitive capabilities. White has co-authored the textbook, Operations Management: Concepts, Methods, and Strategies, with Mark Vonderembse of the University of Toledo, which was published by West Publishing Co. for three editions before being picked up by Wiley and re-titled as Core Concepts of Operations Management.

White has stayed busy during his time at SIUC as he has held a number of different administrative positions such as M.B.A. Program Director (1985-1987, 2001-2002), Associate Dean (1987-1991), Interim Director of the Pontikes Center (2000-2001), Interim Dean (2005-2006), and Management Department Chair (2002-2005, 2007-2009). The combined research, teaching, and administrative duties could seem daunting for one person to manage, but White says he never lost touch in any area, “One of the things of which I am most proud is that I have been able to balance the various areas of my life. In my academic work, I have been able to balance the three areas of teaching, research, and service. I think too many people excel in one area at the expense of other areas.”

White couldn’t be more correct about his impressive balancing act. Throughout his tenure White has been recognized by his peers a number of times. He was the Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 1996, on the Graduate Teaching Honor Roll in 1997 and 1998, Researcher of the Year in 2001, and was on the College of Business Service Honor Roll in 2002.

White’s successes are impressive, said College of Business Dean J. Dennis Cradit, “The impact of Greg White’s steady dedication and service to the College of Business over the course of his career is difficult to fully describe.  He has served as an outstanding teacher, an inspiring researcher, and a strong, stable administrator.  More importantly, he will be missed, not just as a faculty member, but as a dear friend to us all.”

Added to his list of accomplishments is White’s involvement in serving his profession. White was President of the Midwest Region of the Decision Sciences Institute and was an Associate Editor from 1998-2007 for the Journal of Operations Management, a journal which White describes as, “one of the top journals in my field.” If that wasn’t enough success, White went ahead and earned the Editor of the Year award from the same journal in 2001.

White is a great example of how to succeed in profession, as well as, life. He has been married for 28 years and has a son, who is a Research Economist for the U.S. Forest Service. Coming from a gentleman like White, one couldn’t expect anything less.

White serves as in inspiration of hard work and dedication for many. Not surprisingly, White was influenced by some of his peers during his tenure here at SIU as well. Pointing out just a few examples for White was difficult because he was influenced by so many people during his time, however, he did mention two peers who stood out. White reconciled, “I was influenced by Carol Saunders, a previous Management Department Chair, who encouraged me to work toward achieving the rank of Professor. Another inspiration was Arlyn Melcher, another former Management Chair, who retired just recently, and who continued to question and learn through an extremely long and illustrious academic career.”

As for retirement, White, who is a vegetarian, plans to work out three days a week, something he has done for thirty years now. But, for the most part, White says, “My primary goal in retirement is to have the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want. I hope to wake up each morning and ask myself what I feel like doing that day, then go ahead and do it. I also hope to continue some genealogical research I started earlier. There may be other things that will interest me, and I’m just waiting to see what they are.” Given his past, he’ll likely succeed at whatever he decides upon.

If those activities are not enough, well, he and his wife are both certified scuba divers and have logged over 300 dives together. Additionally, they are both ballroom dancing instructors. He plans to continue to do both. Maybe this is where White gets his incredible balance from, in life and in service.

As far as advice to current and future College of Business students, White insists, “Always do the best job you can. I’m neither the smartest person I know nor the most hard-working, but I think I’ve been successful by always seeking to do the best I could at anything I undertook.”