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'Utility infielder' joins BU classics

Nov. 9, 2004

By MANDY JOHNSON, reporter

Baylor classics professor David J. White isn't afraid to raise his voice -- as long as he's performing, anyway.

White, a new professor to Baylor, said he loves to perform.

"I love performing arts and this is one thing I would like to get back into," White said.

White received a bachelor 's degree from the University of Akron, a master's in classics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's in library and information sciences from Kent State.

White came to Baylor from the University of Akron, where he taught for seven years. He also has taught at Rutgers, St. Joseph's University and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has worked in special collections libraries at the University of Pennsylvania and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

His interests include Latin poetry, epic and drama.

"We're very happy to have David as a professor in the classics department," Dr. Alden Smith, chairman of the classics department, said.

"We went to graduate school together, and then he started working at rare books, and it was that fact that made me interested in David because he would be a good fit for paleography libraries," Smith said.

White decided to come to Baylor because the ideal timing presented itself.

"I love my colleagues because they're both supportive and helpful," White said.

White believes the students to be friendly and polite.

"I think I've been called 'sir' in the past two months more than in the last two years," he said.

Although White has taken some time away from academia, he hopes to expand the classics department and bring it into his library of expertise.

"I really enjoy being here, and I hope I can stay for a long time," White said.

He teaches Latin and mythology and says Baylor students have infectious enthusiasm.

"He's an energetic professor, and he's good at getting students involved because he always gives us background information on every topic," Scott Milan, a San Antonio sophomore and student of White, said.

White said he thinks teaching at Baylor is better than he anticipated, but it has been a challenge because the students take full advantage of office hours.

White calls himself a "generalist" or the "utility infielder" of the department because he's used in multiple aspects of the classics department.

He's not afraid to give students advice for his classes to help them along.

"Keep up with homework regularly, don't procrastinate, don't be afraid to ask for help and talk to the faculty members because we're happy to help," White said.

White will participate in the Blue Bag Ensemble Thursdays at 11 a.m. in Waco Hall.

Blue Bag Ensemble took its name from the group's tendency to store all its sheet music in a blue bag.