Dr. Joseph L. White will deliver the University of Nebraska at Kearney spring commencement address on Friday, May 10, at the Health and Sports Center. Graduation ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.
White will address 566 spring graduates, 463 will receive bachelor degrees, 88 will receive their master’s degrees and 15 will receive specialist degrees. An additional 103 students will participate in the spring commencement ceremony that plan to earn their undergraduate degrees during the upcoming summer session. There is not a separate summer commencement ceremony.
Dr. White has had a very successful and memorable career in the field of psychology for the past 38 years. After high school graduation in 1950, White had never heard of psychology. His career aspiration at the time was to be a waiter on the trains, one of the most prestigious and secure jobs for black men at the time, however he decided to enroll in college instead. He became enthralled with psychology during a mandatory introductory class at San Francisco State University. By age 25, Dr. White earned a master’s degree in psychology and then received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Michigan State University in 1961. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, where he has spent most of his career as a teacher, supervising psychologist, mentor and director of ethnic studies and cross-cultural programs.
Dr. White is the author of several papers and three books: The Psychology of Blacks: An African-American Perspective (1990; 1984), The Troubled Adolescent (1989); Black Man Emerging: Facing the Past and Seizing a Future in America (1998). He is a pioneer in black psychology and is oftentimes called the “father of Black psychology” by his students, mentees, and younger colleagues.
In addition to White’s remarks, UNK Chancellor Gladys Styles Johnston will give the commencement welcome and will also present the Leland Holdt/Security Mutual Life Award. Kent Schroeder of Kearney will give the greetings on behalf of the University Board of Regents. Alumni President John Ryan of LaVista will extend greetings on behalf of the alumni association.
Also addressing the graduates will be UNK graduate Michelle Marks of Butterfield, MN, giving the Senior Class Response. Andrea Walton of Kearney and Celestian James DeLaet of Kearney will give the invocation and benediction, respectively. Special music will be performed by the UNK Wind Ensemble, directed by Gary Davis, the Choraleers, under the direction of David Bauer, and Stephen Branch, assistant professor of music and performing arts.
Addressing the students at the Honors Convocation breakfast will be L. Dennis Smith, president of the University of Nebraska. Kelli Brummer of Blair and Jennifer Gohr of Omaha will give the student address and closing remarks, respectively.