The encouragement that Rich White received as a student at the former Gainesville State College prepared him for a successful career in banking that brought him back to his alma mater to lead its foundation – twice.
I graduated from then-Gainesville Junior College in 1968 with an associate degree and earned a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Georgia.
I currently live in Gainesville, Georgia.
I spent 30 years in the banking industry, including various leadership roles at First National Bank of Gainesville, now called Regions Bank. I helped develop the bank's mortgage lending division, which grew to a peak volume of $1.2 billion in annual production. As president and CEO from 1995 to 2005, I presided over a $1 billion full service bank, with a Trust Division of $350 million, and more than $3 billion in mortgage banking and servicing operations.
I'm the former chairman of the University of North Georgia - Gainesville Foundation, Inc. and a past chairman of the Gainesville Junior College Foundation. I served on the university's Consolidation Implementation Committee and on the committee working to merge UNG's two foundations into one.
I've also led a number of community organizations, including past chairman of the North Georgia Community Foundation, the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.
When I was at what was then called Gainesville Junior College, what made the biggest difference for me was that the faculty and the staff took a keen interest in just about every student there. They believed in me and encouraged me to do a lot of things that I'd never done before. I learned that how you treat people really makes a difference, and I carried that into my banking career.
Even though they have a lot more students now on the Gainesville Campus, they still have this caring attitude about all of their students and each student still gets a lot of personal attention,