Written by | Randi Riggs |
Behind a job title often is someone who has worked hard and dedicated himself or herself to get to where the person is now. Newly appointed as Amarillo College’s executive vice president for college advancement and its general counsel, Mark White did just that.
White will be in charge of coordinating fundraisers and raising money in an effort to meet AC’s financial needs. As an Amarillo native, he stuck around close to home to attend college. He attended AC for two years and Texas Tech University for two years before graduating from the Texas Tech University School of Law.
Getting through that many years of college financially was not easy. White mowed lawns during the summer and worked in the university library. During law school he continued to mow lawns during the summer from morning to night, because he was too busy with schoolwork to work during the academic year.
“I found a garage apartment in the back of a big, big home in Lubbock, and instead of paying rent, because I didn’t really have the money, I took care of the lawn and yard work for rent,” White said. “That is how I got through law school.”
One summer during law school, White met his wife, Terry Ann White, who also is a lawyer. She attended SMU and finished law school at Tech.
The two met at an Amarillo junior bar meeting. “We were introduced by friends,” recalled Terry Ann White. She said she didn’t see Mark again until later that summer, when both were at a friend’s house. “I knew the people he was with, and they invited me to eat with him,” she said.
They have been married 33 years and have two daughters, Courtney and Hillary. Both daughters are college graduates. One works for Otterbox, and the other is a lawyer.
White’s first job after college was as a trial lawyer for a small firm in Amarillo, where he stayed for 11 years. He then moved to Sprouse Shrader Smith, where he stayed for 23 years. He has been AC’s chief legal counsel on a part-time basis the past four years.
As of March 1, White will assume his new position. AC President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart said he is excited about the appointment; he said White brings with him great passion for the college, strong relationships within the community and a keen business sense.
White said his first step will be to establish relationships with former students as well as business, industry and community leaders.
He will start with a new program called, “Come Back to Badger Den,” which will be a widespread effort to gather the names and contact information of success stories of all the people who have attended AC.
Most community colleges don’t make such efforts, but universities do all the time. “Communicating with and keeping relationships with all the people that are touched by this place is important,” White said.
White said he is dedicated to Amarillo and AC.
“I love our students, “ he said. “You know what I like to do? Parking here is terrible, but I still like to park as far away as I can and walk all the way through campus. I like to see what the students are wearing, what they are carrying and the car they drive. It’s fun and invigorating. It’s a way to understand what we are doing here – how important our students are.”
After spending 33 years practicing law inside a law firm, White said he is excited to get started on the new journey. He said he has represented many clients and has tried civil cases and criminal law cases, but he doesn’t think any of that is as important as what students are doing at AC.
White said he has no definite plans beyond the AC challenge. “The Lord is going to open another door some day,” he said. “I don’t know what it is going to be, and that is what happened with this opportunity.
“I like surprises. I like to be outside of my comfort zone.”