W&L Alumnus, Honored Journalist Dies at 93

Robert White II

Robert White II

The death last Thursday of Robert M. White II, Class of 1938, former editor and publisher of the Mexico (Mo.) Ledger was a loss for both Washington and Lee and the world of journalism. White majored history, played football, and was a member of Beta Theta Pi. Born to a newspaper family, White got his start as a carrier for the Ledger, which was owned by his grandfather and then is father. Celebrated as one of the strongest proponents of the First Amendment, was active in virtually every major newspaper organization, serving as a president of many, including the Society of Professional Journalists. W&L awarded him an honorary degree in 1972. In reading the obituaries last week, two of the most fascinating facts were:

White left Mexico in 1959 to become editor of the New York Herald Tribune. At the Herald Tribune from 1959 to 1961, White wrote a front-page editorial titled “A Letter to Mr. Krushchev” that was published in English and Russian and won the Silurian award for best New York City editorial in 1960.

In 1986 when he was 71 White was one of the two oldest journalists among the 40 finalists selected to be NASA’s Journalist in Space. He shared that honor with Walter Cronkite with whom White had once worked in the Kansas City UPI bureau. r Kansas City UPI colleague, Walter Cronkite, The flight was canceled in the aftermath of the shuttle Columbia disaster.

    Read the complete Mexico Ledger obituary and the AP version on Editor & Publisher.

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