Alcorn alumnus John E. White was bestowed the highest honor offered by his fraternity for his commitment to service and achievement.

In July 2023, he was inducted into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.’s Distinguished Service Chapter. 

A 1985 graduate of Alcorn State University, White was awarded the Distinguished Key of Service by the fraternity’s 34th International President, Jimmy Hammock, during the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Conclave held in Houston, Tex. 

“I am honored and thankful to receive the highest honor in Sigma and to be awarded the Distinguished Key for exemplary service, leadership, and achievement,” said John E. White, reflecting on his achievement.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., founded in 1914, mission focuses on “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity and promote brotherhood, scholarship and service.”

The tradition of awarding the Distinguished Key of Service began in 1929, with only 207 members having received this esteemed honor. 

White joins this esteemed group as the 204th inductee, an impressive accomplishment given the fraternity’s membership with over 250,000 members.

He currently serves as senior vice president at Sodexo North America, contributing to his organization’s success and positively impacting the community.

In addition to his involvement with Phi Beta Sigma, White is an active member of the Montgomery County Maryland Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma and the Metropolitan DC Chapter of the Alcorn Alumni Association, showcasing his dedication to his fraternity and alma mater.

In celebration of his achievement, a reception is planned for September 23, 2023, at the Gathering Spot in Washington, DC. The event will provide an opportunity to honor and celebrate John E. White’s remarkable contributions to the fraternity and community.

His journey of service has been influenced by his upbringing and a commitment to family values. He is the second-born son of Charles Zetta and Henry Odell White Sr., historically black college graduates. Their experiences and support instilled in him an unbreakable foundation of spiritual tenacity and compassion for human dignity.

He began his educational journey  in parochial and public schools in the Mississippi Delta, where he was an active Cub Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. His family’s residence on the Mississippi Valley State University campus further exposed him to the benefits of higher education and a sense of community.

White’s exposure to the Pan-Hellenic Greek organizations associated with campus life and family members of various fraternities sparked his interest in Greek life. This interest eventually led him to Alcorn State University in the fall of 1981, where he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s Alpha Zeta Chapter in 1982.

At Alcorn, he was actively involved in various campus organizations, including the Catholic Student Union Organization, Yearbook Staff, and Kappa Alpha Mu Honor Society. He also served as the president of the Alcorn NPHC and Senior Class President. Under his leadership, the Alpha Zeta Chapter excelled academically and won several statewide and campus step shows. The chapter was awarded Chapter of the Year at Alcorn and Sigma Chapter of the Year for the State of Mississippi.

He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Institution Management. 

White began his career with Marriott Management Services in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md. 

Throughout his professional journey, he remained an active member of Phi Beta Sigma, holding various leadership roles within the fraternity and contributing to youth ministries and community organizations.

In addition to his fraternity involvement, he currently serves as President of the Sigma Sigma Sigma Chapter and is a founding member of the Gathering Spot of Washington, D.C.