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Donor Profiles

Dan and Sue White '70, '69
Dan and Sue White

Math majors Dan ’70 and Sue White ’69 met in a theology class at SCU.  Now retired, they returned to their passion for math—this time as volunteer teachers in under-served communities. 

Picture yourself enjoying a job so much you’d do it for free—then imagine continuing this practice for the next twenty years. That’s dedication, and for Dan and Sue White, it was their calling. Retired from the workforce in 1999 for only six months, they received a call from a Jesuit high school in the Watts area of Los Angeles. They were both asked to teach math to students who are living in this economically and academically under-served neighborhood. They’ve been volunteer teachers there ever since.

In keeping with the Jesuit tradition, both are invested in changing lives and preparing mostly first-generation college students to enroll in great universities, like their alma mater! Sue recalls “In our time, we were all the first to go to college in our families.”

“It’s also fair to say that I probably would not have gone to Santa Clara without a scholarship,” remarks Dan. Aside from his interest in SCU’s STEM programs, he adds “It also didn’t hurt when college fair day came around on campus and I was a senior in Portland, Oregon, the recruiters had pictures of sunshine and I was kind of impressed.” He majored in math and upon graduation, received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to go to graduate school at the University of Illinois.

Meanwhile, Sue was a year ahead of Dan at Santa Clara majoring in math as well. It was one fateful theology class that would be the conduit for these two kindred spirits to meet. Many shared math classes later, they fell in love, got married, started a family, and built a life of purpose. They are the embodiment of “men and women for others,” transforming lives through education.

As if giving of themselves wasn’t enough, Dan and Sue also contribute financially. They’ve been loyal supporters of the Santa Clara Fund since 1983. They recognize the importance of providing opportunities for deserving, yet financially challenged students. And what do they hope for in return? Dan answers, “Well, I have a couple of hopes. One is that they will at least complete their undergraduate degree, and second, when they are able to do so in whatever small way they can, they will give back to others.”

Sue responds, “I hope they walk in curious and find something that just really speaks to their heart that they love, and go with it. No matter where it takes them, just fall in love with something.”

For these humble, giving, and truly inspiring individuals, their reward is seeing their efforts yield results. What they recently learned is that our featured student, Jesus Reyes, a first-generation college senior, is from the very high school where Dan and Sue volunteer. Their hope, coming full circle.

-Carrie Jensen