NEWS

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May 5, 2006

Third-year White, 21, dies

Trevor White, a third-year in the College whose passion for reading was almost as strong as his zest for making friends, died on April 26 from composite lymphoma at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. He was 21.

“Trevor was a shooting star,” said Northwestern University junior Matt Yalowitz, a close friend of White. “He was here and then gone too fast. But while he was here, he dazzled us all.”

White was born in Sublette, Kansas, a small town of 1,500. He graduated valedictorian from a high school where most students remain in southwest Kansas for college. During his time at the U of C, White often talked about returning to Sublette to encourage students to venture outside of Kansas for college, said close friend Julie Cooper, a third-year in the College.

Friends said although White grew up in a small town, his remarkable sense of direction and friendliness enabled him to adapt easily to Chicago and the University.

Third-year Louis Anderson, White’s roommate during his first year in Alper House, said he had anticipated that White might need help adjusting to city life. But Anderson, who is from a Chicago suburb, was surprised when White navigated the city better than he could.

“He definitely put all my expectations into the garbage—all to my pleasure, of course,” Anderson said.

White had an eagerness for learning that made him fit in well at the University. He was a linguistics concentrator and had studied German. He was also planning to take up Chinese and started teaching himself Yiddish while he was sick.

Though White initially planned to stay in academia and become a professor, he changed his mind often according to newfound interests. He considered taking the LSAT and going to law school, but then thought being a doctor might be his calling after he was diagnosed last August and spent more time in the hospital.

“Every few months he would think of something new he wanted to do with his life,” Cooper said. “He probably would have been good at anything.”

When not studying or reading for pleasure—Cooper said he had “tons of books” in his apartment—White spent his time with his friends.

Anderson said White’s “quiet confidence” made him an easily likeable person.

“He could have this very infectious good mood,” Cooper said.

“I really respect him and in many ways wanted to be like him and still do,” Anderson said.

Yalowitz said despite the differences between Sublette and Chicago, White “had the ability to fit in both places and speak the language of both places.”

White is survived by an older sister who lives in Kansas City and two parents in Sublette.

His family held a funeral for him on April 30, with 16 U of C friends in attendance. Friends also held a memorial service in Bond Chapel yesterday afternoon, led by Alison Boden, dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

Because White had always wanted his classmates to explore the world outside of Sublette, his family has set up a memorial fund to provide financial assistance to students who cannot afford to attend college.

Those interested in contributing to the fund should e-mail Cooper at jcoopx@gmail.com.