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Paying tribute to Mike White

Mike White passed away at the age of 63 on December 12, 2016. He died in his Portland home as a result of natural causes. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 10, 1953. His parents were Howard Gervis White and Thelma Jean (Griffin) White. Throughout his life he lived in California, New York, Oak Harbor and finally Portland.

White was the brightest shining star of the Washington State University Vancouver community. He had a smile that could spread around a room like wildfire. He loved this little school on a hill as much as he loved life itself. It was his desire to serve the WSU Vancouver community until the day he died and that is exactly what he did.

It was as chair of the ASWSUV Election Board that White first made a name for himself. Anyone who has been on this campus for a period of time has heard stories about how crazy campus elections can get. Under the leadership and guidance of White, this was not the case. The tone he set as a leader created an environment of respect between the candidates the likes of which can be hard to find in any sort of political environment.

White would continue to be involved on campus in just about every way he possibly could find time for. If there was an event happening on campus, you could almost always count on White being present. Just as impressive as his extracurricular achievements were his academic achievements. It was a near daily occurrence for him to be in the library studying first thing at 8 a.m. and still be there working hard at 10 p.m. The department of psychology noticed his hard work and he ended up with a job in the department and his own desk.

Even more impressive than White’s achievements was the quality human being that he was and the love he brought into the lives of those around him. “I am in disbelief. I was always so amazed by White’s tenacity and determination, but even more for his outlook on people and compassionate heart,” said alumnus Allegra Koupal. “He always made me laugh and smile. The world is missing one amazing man!”

A vigil was held for White on Jan. 19. During this event, friends, relatives and loved ones shared their most cherished memories of his life. His best friend from college described some of the antics they would get into together. He talked about the time that this crazy new invention called a microwave was installed in the cafeteria of their dorm. They would invite dates over to show off this contraption by putting almonds in it and watching the magic happen.

ASWSUV President Skye Troy ran against White last spring. She too expressed sentiments similar to many who knew White. “Mike you will be truly missed friend! I remember the days we spent campaigning together, debating, eating lunch and always talking about how to make the world a better place,” Troy said. “Your smile and laugh was infectious and could fill a whole room. You will always be a part of the Cougar Family!”

It is true that White was a creature of love, but he also was ready to fight for what he believed to be right and just. The beautiful thing about White is that his voice was the loudest when speaking on the behalf of others and his voice was quietest when speaking about himself. His humility was a spectacle. Very rarely would he take credit for his own successes, instead he would constantly contribute his achievements to the people around him.

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