In Memoriam – Aaronette M. White

To: UCSC Community

From: Dean Sheldon Kamieniecki

Professor Aaronette M. White
Professor Aaronette M. White

I write with great sadness to inform you that Professor Aaronette M. White, associate dean of equity and social responsibility in the Division of Social Sciences, has died unexpectedly at age 51.

Her passing is a tremendous loss to her family and friends and all of us at UC Santa Cruz. She was a gifted professor of social psychology who loved teaching and was beloved by her students. She was an exceptional scholar who believed in putting theory into everyday life.

Professor White was the keynote speaker at the College Ten commencement exercises in June.

Just last month, she agreed to become associate dean in my office to help me maintain and increase the diversity of the faculty, staff, and students in the Social Sciences division. She told me she was excited by the challenge, and she also made it clear to me that being an associate dean was not going to keep her out of the classroom.

Professor White joined UC Santa Cruz in 2008. She earned her A.B. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, she had affiliations with a variety of institutions around the world including Pennsylvania State University, Harvard University, the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and the University of Amsterdam.

She edited the book African Americans Doing Feminism: Putting Theory into Everyday Practice, her second collection of personal stories. Her earlier book, Ain't I a Feminist? African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom focused on the feminist experiences of black men.

She was working on two other books based on her year teaching and conducting research in Ethiopia on a Fulbright Fellowship.  One would describe how Ethiopian women apply feminist theory in their everyday lives; the second was based on interviews with female combat veterans who fought in Ethiopia's 17-year civil war.

Professor White was an incredibly dedicated researcher, teacher, and campus citizen who felt very strongly about increasing diversity in the Division of Social Sciences and across UCSC. Please join me in extending our heartfelt condolences to her family and her many friends and colleagues, on and off campus. Professor White will be very much missed by all who knew her.

The African Black Student Alliance will hold a memorial service Thursday, August 16 to commemorate the life of Dr. Aaronette White, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the African American Resource and Cultural Center located on the 3rd floor of the Bay Tree Bookstore on the UCSC campus. The memorial will proceed to the Quarry at sunset.