R. Adm. Jonathan White ’82, A Seafarer’s Perspective
Rear Admiral White’s passion for oceanography and the Navy began before the age of seven, thanks to the influence of his mother and a Navy diver who lived next door. He earned his bachelor of science in oceanographic technology from Florida Tech and a master’s degree in oceanography and meteorology from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
White was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983 and assigned as a surface warfare officer to the USS John L. Hall (FFG 32). After joining the oceanography community in 1987, he held operational sea and shore assignments around the world, including Florida, Guam, California, and Germany.
White went on to command the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Facility in Pensacola and served as the fiftieth superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory. He was promoted to Rear Admiral (one-star) in 2009 and served as Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command until 2012. In August 2012, as a two-star Rear Admiral, he assumed duties as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy until his retirement in October 2015.
Jon remains a steward and stalwart of the sea today through his role as president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, DC. The consortium is a long-standing organization with over ninety-five member institutions from academia and industry that advances ocean research, education, and sound ocean policy.
As one might guess, one of his most memorable moments at Florida Tech involves studying on the beach. White recalls the day when, “I had an epiphany that I was actually beginning to understand how the ocean worked—from physics to chemistry to biology and ecosystems.”
Rear Admiral White was featured in Florida Tech’s 60th Anniversary special edition book, “60 for 60: Celebrating Sixty Years of Alumni at Florida Institute of Technology.” Copies are available for purchase here.