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David White, founding director of the MIT Energy Laboratory, dies at 89

David Calvin White, founding director of the MIT Energy Laboratory and a longtime faculty member, died on Jan. 11. He was 89.

A resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., and formerly of Mashpee, Mass., White joined MIT in 1952 and spent four decades at the Institute, retiring in 1992. He served for many years as Ford Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and was also housemaster of Burton-Conner from 1963-1968.

White was also the founding director of the MIT Energy Laboratory, which was created in November 1972 to concentrate the Institute’s diverse intellectual resources on the complex societal issues and technological problems involved in the supply, demand and consumption of energy. He served in that role until 1988.

White was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (fellow), the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), and the honorary societies Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

He leaves his wife of 45 years, Margot Fuller White; a daughter, Constance Anne White; and a granddaughter, Heather Glorianna Coman. He was predeceased by another daughter, Julie Ann Coman. He is also survived by his sister, Eloise W. Johnson; sons-in-law, Steven J. Schettler and William L. Coman; and grandson-in-law, Jiri I. Herrmann.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend memorial services on Friday, Jan. 20, at the MIT Chapel (Building W15) at 1:30 p.m.; reception to follow in the Religious Activities Center (Room W11-190). The funeral procession to Mt. Auburn Cemetery will depart from the reception at 3:30 p.m. for final committal service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the David C. White Memorial Fund at MIT and sent to: Attention: Bonny Kellermann, MIT Memorial Gift Office (W98-500), 600 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139-5822.

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