CSCC Spotlight Highlights Dr. Andy White – A Journey Of Service And Education

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Dr. Liz Moseley (left), psychology professor, and Grace Johnson (center), director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, welcome Dr. Andy White at the Welcome Reception on April 1
Dr. Liz Moseley (left), psychology professor, and Grace Johnson (center), director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, welcome Dr. Andy White at the Welcome Reception on April 1
Cleveland State Community College announced Dr. Andy White as the eighth president of the college earlier this month. 

Dr. White served 20 years in the United States Air Force then worked for the University of Tennessee, Volunteer State Community College and Belmont University. "These varied and unique experiences have given him a passion for public service and education," officials said.

Dr. White started as a second lieutenant in the Air Force after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“My career was not heroic, but I got to be inside to see some really neat moments in our nation’s history and see the professionalism and sacrifices of our military members,” said Dr. White. “I learned a lot both from the generals I worked for and from the enlisted staff who worked for me.”

As a young lieutenant, Dr. White was on the flight line when the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, arrived in Washington D.C. to meet with President Reagan for the U.S. - Soviet Summit meeting. After Sept. 11, 2001, he was deployed to the Command Center for Air Operations, working 90 straight days to lead the media strategy for coalition air operations against al-Qaeda, seeing firsthand how that operation was planned, managed and tracked. He was the communications leader in the Air Force Special Operations Command for almost two years and taught for the Air Force’s “think tank” on Public Affairs operations at Air University. Dr. White retired as a lieutenant colonel, having commanded the second largest of the Air Force’s 28 recruiting squadrons.

When asked what he hopes to bring to Cleveland State from his military experience, Dr. White said, “Focus on the mission and celebrate our people. We need to make sure our people feel appreciated, and we need to constantly remind ourselves of the difference we are making for the students in our region and just how impactful that is.”

After serving in the military, Dr. White worked for the University of Tennessee as chief of internal communications and then as director of the Aerospace and Defense MBA program at the Haslam College of Business. The program was a success with a completion rate of almost 100 percent. Dr. White said, “I wanted to take the things that I was learning and help underserved students at community colleges get these same types of experiences.”

He worked at Volunteer State Community College as dean of the Business and Technology Division. When Belmont University received funding to launch the Fast Forward program to help improve postsecondary and economic outcomes of low-income students, Dr. White said, “It was right up my alley. It wasn’t about bringing students to Belmont, it was about leading innovation. I got to research and build relationships with metro schools in the region. It was an incredible opportunity.”

In the 1960s, Dr. White’s father used the GI Bill to earn his bachelor’s degree after ten years of active military duty in the Air Force. Two years later, he and his wife adopted Dr. White. “Education lifted my father out of coal mining,” said Dr. White. “I always knew that I wanted to be in public service. Being adopted and having all these blessings from early in life, I felt a responsibility to help others and found satisfaction doing that. I knew I could take as much pride in leading education as I did in leading in the military.”

With a dream of being a community college president, Dr. White said, “I was attracted to this job, and now that I’m in it, I am triple excited because I’ve been meeting with people here and community leaders who really want the college to be successful. This college is positioned to be one of the best rural community colleges in the country. This region is great, and the college is doing great things. It is a thrill for me to be here.”

Dr. White earned a doctor of education degree in education leadership at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, a master of science in public administration from Central Michigan University, and a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Tennessee. He and his wife, Jona, have six adult children, two grandsons and two springer spaniels.
Jason Taylor (right), advanced technologies assistant professor, welcomes Dr. White at the Welcome Reception on April 1
Jason Taylor (right), advanced technologies assistant professor, welcomes Dr. White at the Welcome Reception on April 1
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