About Judge Warren White
Warren L. White graduated from Drury in 1904. His father, John Turner White, was one of the first students enrolled in Drury, graduating in 1878. His son, Warren D. White, also graduated from Drury in 1936.
After graduation, Warren L. White was employed first by a telephone company. He then studied law in his father's office. After passing the bar examination, he married Miss Minerva Dana of Nipomo, Calif. He then established a law practice in Springfield. From 1912 until 1916, he served as an assistant prosecuting attorney under Sam M. Wear. In 1924, at the urging of friends, he ran for and was elected to the position of circuit court judge in Division II of Greene County. His father had been elected to the Missouri State Supreme Court in 1922. This relationship resulted in some facetious speculation as to whether the father would turn the son over his knee if it became necessary to reverse the son's errors.
An event that occurred in his court was a criminal case in which the defendant was convicted of stealing motor vehicles. The conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court on a technical matter after the defendant had served part of the sentence. When the trial was rescheduled, the defendant decided to plead guilty because he thought Judge White would probably let him off with the time already served. This was in spite of contrary advice from his lawyers. Judge White sentenced him to six and a half years, the difference between the time already served and the sentence recommended by the original jury. The defendant protested that he was in bad health and could not possibly serve out a six and a half year sentence. Judge White responded, "Well, do the best you can."
Judge White was reelected for six consecutive terms totaling 36 years. This reflected a widespread respect and admiration for his insightful and dispassionate judgments, coupled with his droll sense of humor and deep understanding of human nature. He retired in 1960 at the age of 75 and died on New Year's Day in 1964 at the age of 79. This prize has been established in his honor to reward the achievement of academic excellence by first year students regardless of race, creed, sex or financial status.
The Judge Warren L. White Scholars
The Judge White scholars are students with the highest grade point average after the completion of the first year at Drury. The outstanding students receive a stipend and designation as the Judge Warren L. White Scholars.
JUDGE WARREN L. WHITE SCHOLARS
Maisie Ann Baldwin