Scholars honor Tait White, reach $10K goal

The Northeast State Scholars Foundation student club formally established a scholarship in the name of a late Northeast State alumnus and met their goal to raise $10,000 for student scholarships.

The Scholars Foundation announced the creation of the Tait Obadiah White Memorial Book Scholarship available for the upcoming fall semester during the Student Leadership Luncheon held earlier this month. White graduated magna cum laude from Northeast State in summer 2011.  He passed away during the fall of 2012 while enrolled at East Tennessee State University.

Tait Obadiah White
Tait Obadiah White

“Tait embodied the leadership we expect in our student leaders,” said Greg Walters, dean of Student Development who worked closely with White.  “We could not do what we do without our student leaders.”

The Scholars Foundation sought to create a scholarship in White’s name in November of 2012.  Fundraising projects earned more than $2,400 with faculty and staff donations adding more than $300.  The Scholars were able to fund the scholarship for at least nine semesters thus far.

The book scholarship will benefit a second-year Foreign Language, Political Science, or Psychology major with a grade point average of 2.75. The first award will be made during the 2013 fall semester.  The monetary value of the scholarship to the recipient will be $300 per semester for two semesters.  A plaque commemorating White and recognizing each scholarship recipient will be displayed in the office of Scholarship Programs on the main campus.

White was an Honors Program student and served as the first president of the Scholars Foundation and president of Psi Beta, the psychology honors society.  He also helped develop the Scholars’ constitution and create a logo.  A teenage missionary who traveled to Panama and Peru, he served as a counselor as well as a laborer at Doe River Gorge Christian camp.

Greg Walters and Mark White
Greg Walters and Mark White

Tait’s father, Mark White, attended the luncheon and praised his son’s friends and classmates for their efforts to establish a scholarship to honor his legacy.  He also presented the college with a plaque that includes a photo of Tait and one of his original poems for display.

“He wasn’t the kind of person who bragged about what he did,” White said.  “He gave whatever he did his all, and I believe that made him so successful.”

The Scholars Foundation supports the efforts of the Northeast State Community College Foundation through student-driven initiatives to promote private giving and service learning. Membership is composed of students receiving Northeast State scholarships, Honors Program students, or members of other campus honor societies.

The Scholars club also celebrated surpassing the $10,000 mark this year in funds raised for Foundation Scholarships. The Scholars Foundation becomes eligible for membership the College’s President’s Trust which recognizes donors exceeding $10,000 of giving.

“It was very exhilarating considering all the work we put in,” said Rachel Lawson, student president of the Scholars Foundation.  “Seeing it grow from zero to $10,000 made it very satisfying.”

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