Determined to succeed

Elvin White knows that if at first you don’t succeed at something, you have to try again.

For White, that something was finishing a bachelor’s degree, and this time, he means to finish. With just a few credits shy of earning a Bachelor of Applied Science with a minor in business information systems, he’s on track to graduate in May 2019.

A native of Nashville, Arkansas, White first enrolled at UA Little Rock in 2000 and starting working toward a degree in electronics and computer engineering technology. He soon got active in UA Little Rock’s Phi Beta Sigma chapter. Through the chapter’s volunteer outreach, White became a Big Brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. During his junior year, a serious motorcycle accident forced him to withdraw. The hit-and-run accident left him with a broken clavicle, back injuries, torn neck ligaments, and short-term memory loss. He was newly married at the time with two children and would spend the next eight months bedridden.

“After that wreck, I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I was off of work for a year, but once I was able, I just worked. School was not on my mind at all. I was just in a really dark place.”

Then in 2008, White enrolled at UA-Pulaski Technical College and completed a two-year Associate of Applied Science in computer information systems. He began working for Best Buy’s Geek Squad, earned some additional information technology certifications, and in 2010, was hired as an engineer at Hewlett Packard’s call center in Conway. Things were looking up until 2012 when he got laid off and divorced.  

For the past five years, he has worked as an information technology manager at Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, a job he says he loves.

In summer 2017, he returned to UA Little Rock to finish what he started many years ago. He’s made the Dean’s and Chancellor’s Lists, all while balancing family and work responsibilities.

“Through church, prayer, and good friends, I got here to where I am today,” he said.

More is at stake this time around for White, 36, who now has four sons: Kaden, Jaden, Ayden, and Kasen.

“My goal in life is to make sure my kids want for nothing, and that I instill in them everything they need to grow up and be good men,” he said.

White was just 13 years old when his own father died in 1995.

“If my father was here, he wouldn’t want me to quit,” he said. “I want to show my boys that even though you may hit some obstacles, you can finish whatever you start with hard work and determination.

“I’m glad I never gave up,” he said. “One thing I would tell people is that it doesn’t matter if you started yesterday or today. It’s never too late. Everybody’s path is different. It doesn’t matter when you finish, as long as you finish.”

Elvin White will complete his Bachelor of Applied Science degree next year. Photo by Benjamin Krain


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