For more than 54 years, Joseph L. White enjoyed a distinguished career in the field of psychology and mental health services as a teacher, mentor, administrator, clinical supervisor, writer, consultant, and practicing psychologist. He was Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry at UCI, where he spent most of his career as a teacher, supervising psychologist, mentor, and director of ethnic studies and cross-cultural programs. White received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Michigan State University in 1961.
In August of 2015, White received a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for his distinguished career as a psychologist devoted to social justice and committed to racial, gender, and cultural equality. White was the author of several papers and books. He was a pioneer in the field of Black psychology and was affectionately referred to as the “Godfather” of Black psychology by his students, mentees, and younger colleagues. His seminal article in Ebony magazine in 1970, “Toward a Black Psychology,” was instrumental in beginning the modern era of African-American and ethnic psychology. In addition to his teaching and research, White was a practicing psychologist and consultant. White was appointed to the California State Psychology Licensing Board by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and served as chairman for three years. He was also member of the Board of Trustees of The Menninger Foundation in Houston, Texas.
Dr. White passed away in 2017 at the age of 84. He is survived by his wife Lois and three daughters: Lori, Lisa, and Lynn.
Dr. White's legacy lives on at the Cross-Cultural Center. Our center has a large multipurpose room in his name where a beautiful portrait of Dr. Joseph L. White can be found. The annual Dr. Joseph L. White Lecture, a featured event during the Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium, has brought national thought leaders, scholars, community organizers, and activists to UCI; recent speakers include Blair Imani, Yusef Salaam, and this year, we are honored to have Bree Newsome Bass deliver this year's lecture virtually. Additionally, the Dr. Joseph L. White Scholarship program was established in 2019-2020 during our center's 45th anniversary.
To support the Dr. Joseph White endowment at UCI, please consider making a gift online here. Under designations, select "See all/Schools & Units" then search for "Dr. Joseph White."