HAMPTON, Va. – The Hampton University family came together on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, for a Memorial Service in celebration of the life of Dr. Gladys Hope Franklin White, an outstanding Hampton University alumna and the namesake for the Gladys Hope Franklin White Hall residence facility, after her passing last week.
Reverend Dr. Debra Haggins, Hampton University Chaplain, opened up the service with a Prayer of Comfort. “We are here to celebrate the life and the legacy and the memory and the love and the dedication and the devotion of Dr. Gladys Hope Franklin White,” she said.
Family and friends of Dr. White then enjoyed a beautiful musical tribute to Dr. White from the Hampton University Choirs.
After a scripture reading from Justin A. Langley, Sr., Dr. White’s great nephew, Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey, shared some inspiring words about Dr. White.
“On behalf of the entire Hampton University family, I extend our deepest sympathies,” said Dr. Harvey. “As sad as a memorial service is, it really is when you think about Dr. White, a time of joy and a time of celebration. We find joy in her many, many accomplishments. She was the type of person individually and professionally that we should all strive to be. Hardworking, constructive, trustworthy, supportive, considerate, outgoing, faithful and loyal.”
Dr. Harvey talked about her faithfulness and unending love and devotion to Hampton University. Dr. White served as the Emeritus Class Leader and in this leadership role, she coordinated efforts that led to the raising of over $11 million from alumni members of the class. “During my 41 years as President, Dr. White generally loved and served Hampton University faithfully. She diligently raised funds for Hampton, recruited students from North Carolina, and brought students to the campus. She loved the choir, she loved the band, and she loved Hampton,” he said.
Dr. White’s granddaughter, Dr. Monique Sharaye White, who is also a Hampton University alumna, was in attendance and spoke on behalf of her family, and about how deeply woven Hampton University is within her family. “I thank you for recognizing the selfless spirit and tireless dedication that she gave to both of our alma mater,” she said. “My parents were married here, my mother was laid to rest here, and now here is where I begin the journey of saying goodbye to a woman who, quite frankly, I was convinced would outlive us all.”
She told of the story of how her and her grandmother would greet each other with a “Hello Dr. White, well, hello Dr. White,” as they both held that earned title.
“Dr. Gladys Hope Franklin White was an icon, a heroine, a paradigm of educational excellence, and purpose-driven service. She was a mentor, a benefactor, an unparalleled force of determination and will. A legend in her own right. And that, to be honest, is the hardest to accept, that someone so small in stature but large in heart is no more, that someone who lived so long through so many things and continued to rise like a phoenix, despite enormous losses and unimaginable grief, is actually gone,” said Dr. Monique Sharaye White.
Other speakers for the Memorial Service included, Ms. Naya Martin, President of the Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Dr. Joyce Melvin Jones, President of the Hampton Chapter, Links, Inc.
To conclude the service, Reverend Haggins gave remarks and benediction, leaving the entire congregation with warm words about Dr. White and her love for Hampton University.
“Make no mistake, today we’re not claiming perfection upon Dr. White for none is perfect but the Father, but there is one thing He can claim, one thing we know as certainty, one thing we can deduce from her life assure, that her heart for Hampton, her love for Hampton, her activity and activism on behalf of Hampton, her intent toward Hampton University was as pure as the driven snow,” she said.