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Larry MacIntyre
IU Office of Communications

Last modified: Friday, August 20, 2010

Back from Afghanistan, Kirk White takes on expanded role at IU

Aug. 20, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kirk White is returning this month to Indiana University and expanded job responsibilities after serving a year on active duty in Afghanistan in a key leadership position with the Indiana Army National Guard.

White, who was director of community relations at IU's Bloomington campus before being called to active duty last year, will now take on an expanded role as assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, effective Aug. 23.

He will report to Bill Stephan, who as vice president for engagement has statewide responsibility for IU's economic development initiatives.

"Kirk has a set of skills and professional experiences that almost uniquely qualify him for these responsibilities," Stephan said. "Kirk has been closely involved with a variety of business and economic development initiatives in Bloomington and Monroe County over the years, and his military experiences as a senior officer in the Indiana National Guard give him a leg up in managing IU's growing relationships with the military and Department of Defense."

White will serve as primary contact to all state and federal national-security organizations engaged with IU, including Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Indiana National Guard and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. He will also serve as Military Liaison for the Office of the President of Indiana University.

His other major area of responsibility will be to represent IU in dealings with the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and the City of Bloomington Office of Economic Development. In a related role, he will work with leaders of the IU Research and Technology Corp. to identify and assist in developing Bloomington-based opportunities for economic expansion. This will include overseeing the planning process for developing the Indiana University Technology Park (East) in the vicinity of Tenth Street and the Ind. 45/46 Bypass.

He will also assist IU officials in the university's strategic partnerships with Bloomington Hospital.

Building on his military training and experience, White will resume serving as a member of the university's emergency preparedness team, which coordinates and plans crisis communications and response efforts.

"I am looking forward to all of these opportunities," White said. "I believe Indiana University is well positioned to serve as a catalyst for a wide variety of economic development initiatives that will not only strengthen Indiana University, but create more good-paying jobs in Bloomington and Monroe County."

White, a lieutenant colonel in the Indiana Army National Guard, spent the past year in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was commander of Task Force Avenger, managing force protection and base operations for three coalition bases in the capital city. As commander, White was a sort of "mayor" of the bases, responsible for everything from protecting them from attack by insurgents to ensuring that living conditions were adequately maintained. He served a previous one-year tour in Afghanistan in 2004-05 as a U.S. embedded trainer with the Afghan National Army.

At IU, White was instrumental in establishing research and teaching partnerships with both Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and the Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck Center for Complex Operations (CAMCCO).

White worked as director of community relations since 2000. In 2006, then IU Provost Michael McRobbie assigned White the additional duty of associate director of IU's Center on American and Global Security, coordinating homeland security and national defense partnerships with state and federal government agencies. He was promoted to assistant vice president in 2009 before taking his military leave of absence.

Some of White's former community relations responsibilities will now be handled by Valerie Peña, assistant vice president and chief of staff for public affairs and government relations. These include such campus-community linkages as the United Way campaign, neighborhood relations and general local government or community issues.

White joined the professional staff of IU in 1984 after completing the Bachelor of Science degree from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and serving as IU student body president. He has served IU in several external, alumni and government relations directorships.

A former elected official, Kirk served eight years as a member of the Bloomington City Council (1988-95), and one term as Monroe County Commissioner (1997-2000).

He and his wife Janice have two daughters and live in Bloomington.