Prominent Black Faculty Member: Dr. Florence Anna “Pat” White

During this period of inactivity for the BSU, Black history was still being recorded in a recognizable way with the College of Education’s first known Black tenured professor. Dr. Florence Anna “Pat” White came to the University of Idaho in 1976 as a graduate assistant.1 Before her time at the University, she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, in 1963. She then taught at the Matt Kelly Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a classroom teacher from 1963-1967, and as a head start teacher at Matt Kelly Elementary from 1964-1966. After the 1967 school year, Dr. White would leave Matt Kelly Elementary and begin teaching at Vegas Verdes Elementary school. She would remain at Vegas Verdes until 1970, again moving schools, this time to Buckman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, and teaching there until 1976.2

After her time at Buckman, Dr. White seems to have moved on from elementary teaching, teaching exclusively at the University of Idaho, finishing her graduate assistantship in 1978 and advancing towards her tenure-track position. After serving as a graduate assistant and completing her doctoral studies at the University, she began serving as a full-time faculty member at the University of Idaho. Dr. White progressed on, later becoming an associate professor at the University and serving the institution for ten years. It is recorded that sometime during the 1980s and 1990s, she was given a tenured position at the University; however, the exact date is unknown.

Dr. White seems to have been quite involved at the University, being present for Juntura meetings in 1978 and 1981.3 She was further involved in more University affairs, serving on a Vice President of Student Affairs search committee4 and a faculty council in 1989.5 During the 1990-1991 school year, she taught two courses as an associate professor in the College of Education: ED 201 (Intro to Teaching) and ED 581 (Systematic and Objective Analysis Instruction or SOAI). After the 1993 school year, the record of Dr. White seems to trail off for the most part, with the next mention of her name being her memorial in 2020.6 While there is not much record of Dr. White’s time at the University of Idaho, she is one of the first known Black tenured professors at the University and in the College of Education. Her involvement at the University also showcases that there was some approval for having tenured Black professors at the University of Idaho.


  1. “Faculty Council Graduate Position,” Argonaut, April 26, 1977,
  2. Dr. Florence Anna White, CV, February 1993, College of Education Records, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho. 
  3. “Senate Considers Resolutions on KUOI, Fee Increases,” Argonaut, March 31, 1978,
  4. Sherry Deal, “New Student Services, Godwin to Make Move to SUB,” Argonaut, October 17, 1989,
  5. Angela Curtis, “Faculty Council Sends Consensual Sex Policy Back to Committee,” Argonaut, February 3, 1989,
  6. “In Memoriam (Alumni),” Here We Have Idaho, Spring 2020,


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The Seminal History and Prospective Future of Blacks at the University of Idaho Copyright © 2023 by Brody Gasper and Sydney Freeman Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.