DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Duke University community is mourning the loss of one of its trailblazers.
Nathaniel White Jr., a Durham native, and Hillside High School graduate was one of the first five Black undergraduate students at Duke University.
The University says he died March 19 in Atlanta. He was 75.
White enrolled at Duke in 1963 along with Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Gene Kendall, Mary Mitchell Harris and Cassandra Smith Rush. With White’s death, Kendall is the last surviving member of the original five.
According to the University, White said in 2013 that he originally intended to go to Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), his father’s alma mater, but after the encouragement of a guidance counselor, he considered Duke and later enrolled.
White earned a bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics from Duke in 1967. He was particularly drawn toward applied math, and after graduation, he pursued graduate work in mathematical statistics at UNC-Chapel Hill and also took courses at UNC’s School of Public Health.
In 1969, he was accepted as a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service. He began working in epidemiology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and NICHD, now the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
As a consulting statistician, White participated in clinical trials, reviewed research grants, and was section chief for a computer division that supported activities in epidemiology.
From 1993 to 2007, he served as director of the Public Health Sciences Institute and director of the Office of Sponsored Research at Morehouse College.
He also served on the board of the National Sponsored Programs Administrators Alliance, the professional association of HBCU sponsored program administrators.