Press release from the University of Kansas Office of Relations 1st Sept 1998


LAWRENCE -- A University of Kansas alumnus living in Singapore has developed a $70,000 gift for the Spencer Museum of Art and the Department of History of Art at KU, Sally Frost Mason, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Andrea S. Norris, director of the Spencer, announced today.

Gifts totaling $35,000 from David A. White were assisted by matching funds from White's former employer, The Chase Manhattan Bank, to bring the total amount to $70,000. Half of the support goes to the Timothy Mitchell Art Museum Education Fund for use by the Spencer Museum. Half goes to the Timothy Mitchell Art History Graduate Award Fund, which provides an award given annually to graduate students in art history.

David A. White is the chief underwriting officer of Asian Securitization and Infrastructure Assurance (Pte) Ltd in Singapore. He wanted to honor both his close friend, the late Timothy Mitchell, KU art history professor, and the arts in general.

"David White's gift is greatly appreciated, especially so because it honors Tim Mitchell, a former faculty member and colleague whose untimely death was extraordinarily difficult for many to accept," Mason said. "I am particularly grateful to David who, after many years of success in business and finance, has chosen to honor and remember his strong liberal arts background by supporting art history. His thoughtfulness and generosity will benefit many fine students of art history now and in the future."

Norris said the Mitchell Fund provides important opportunities for the Spencer.

"The Timothy Mitchell Art Museum Education Fund was designated to increase learning opportunities for art educators at the Spencer Museum of Art," she said. "Mitchell Fund support will help education staff members to participate in courses, seminars and professional conferences. Besides increasing our ability to serve the Spencer's audience effectively, these activities will serve to broaden the national visibility of our innovative education programs.

White said his gift was motivated by a sense of gratitude.

"I have always felt that I owe a lot to KU for the fine education I received," White said. "I feel I owe KU at least the cost of a four-year education at today's prices. I also wanted to do something to encourage the arts, which I have the impression may not get such high priority from the state legislature in Topeka."

White received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and German Language and Literature in 1964. He was also a member of SACHEM and Omicron Delta Kappa, and he was a Summerfield Scholar. He organized the 1964 Rock Chalk Review at KU. He did graduate work at the Ecole des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales in Paris, Indiana University and Columbia University.

White met his wife, Noemi Ramirez, a Peruvian citizen, in New York where she was studying ballet at Julliard before dancing with the Alvin Nikolais Modern Dance Company in New York. The couple have two children, Stefan and Thomas, who also work in the financial field, one in New York, and one in Singapore.

White worked at Chase Manhattan Bank for 27 years, specializing in credit and risk management. Most of his career has been spent outside the United States in Germany, Mexico, Colombia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The gift will be administered by the KU Endowment Association, an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management foundation for the University of Kansas. Founded in 1891, the KU Endowment Association is the oldest foundation of its type at a public university in the United States and one of the largest.

Story by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg