Dr. Jerry White is President Emeritus and Board Chair Emeritus of The Navigators, an international Christian organization with over 5,000 staff ministering in 112 countries, working with college students, military personnel, business and professional people and churches.
General White was born in Iowa and raised in Spokane, Washington. He attended the University of Washington and received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1959. In 1964, he received a Masters Degree in Astronautics from The Air Force Institute of Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Astronautics from Purdue University in 1970.
Following graduation from the University of Washington, General White received a commission in the U.S. Air Force. During his 13 ½ years of active duty, he served in many capacities, including an assignment as a mission controller at Cape Kennedy during the height of the American space program. He also was an associate professor of astronautics at the Air Force Academy in Colorado for six years and co-authored a nationally recognized textbook on astrodynamics. General White resigned from active service in 1973, and then spent 24 years in the Air Force Reserves in a number of assignments, retiring July 1, 1997 as a major general. From 1992-1995 he served on the congressionally mandated Reserve Forces Policy Board. He is on the board and executive committee of the Air Force Association, and is past vice chairman for Aerospace Education. In his last Reserve assignment, he served as mobilization assistant to the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Previously he served as mobilization assistant to the commanders of Electronic Systems Center and Aeronautical Systems Center. He also had assignments with what is now AF Space Command and the National Security Agency.
In two consecutive years, 1967 and 1968, Dr. White was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedom Foundation. In 1990, he was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal and in 1997, he received the Defense Service Medal. He is also a registered professional engineer, a member of the Tau Beta Pi Honorary Engineering Society and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 1991 and 1993-95, he served as chairman of the Colorado Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee. He was formerly the Vice Chairman of Aerospace Education for the Air Force Association. He is on the board and executive committee of the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization; past board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA); the board of World Vision and a member of the board and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Christian Leadership Alliance.
Dr. White first came into contact with The Navigators as a student at the University of Washington. Throughout his military career, he maintained close contact with The Navigators, beginning the organization's ministries at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Purdue University. After several Regional Director roles he accepted the position of Executive Director in June 1983. Dr. White became International President on June 18, 1986 and stepped out of office on January 1, 2005.
Jerry and his wife, Mary, have written thirteen books on practical topics such as work, ethics, and parenting adult children. His latest books are On the Job:Survival or Satisfgaction (1988,Navpress), Rules to Live By (2010 NavPress), Unfinished: How to Approach Life’s Detours, Do-Overs, and Disappointments, (2013, NavPress), To Be A Friend: Building Deep and Lasting Relationships (2014, NavPress) and The Joseph Road: Choices That Determine Your Destiny. (Colorado Springs, CO; Practical Living Books, 2010 (2015). Dr. White has also authored Honesty, Morality and Conscience (1996, NavPress); The Church and the Parachurch: An Uneasy Marriage (1983, Multnomah Press), The Power of Commitment (1985, NavPress), and Dangers Men Face (1997, NavPress). Mary White published Harsh Grief, Gentle Hope (1995, NavPress).
In addition to his work with The Navigators, Dr. White is a nationally competitive handball player, a licensed commercial pilot, earned a parachutist rating and is an active member of his local church, having served on the church board. He is married to the former Mary Ann Knutson. They have four children, 11 grandchildren,2 great grandchildren and live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Current as of July 2022