The Iconoclast gives a valedictory to John White, outgoing chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
John White is done. The University of Arkansas Press survived; the University of Arkansas Museum did not. The College of Business became a training school for Wal-Mart, and the College of Education became an enabler for the Waltons’ right-wing political assault on public education.
The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences has more students and fewer faculty than when White came. The College of Engineering, to which he has retired at full salary, has lots of well-paid endowed professorships and more students leaving the state and nation for employment than any other college. He borrowed record amounts of money to build more buildings than needed, and he made an offer to buy Fayetteville High School. He gave Houston Nutt millions for abusing his UA cell phone and running off franchise players. Lots of money was raised, not without strings, and he got a $10,000 desk and a $3 million mansion.
Most of us who love and value the University as an essential part of our community are glad to be shed of him. We all look forward to better days ahead under the leadership of Chancellor David Gearhart, a Fayetteville native with a good heart and more than a lick of sense.