Featured Psychologist: Joseph White, PhD

Joseph White PhDKnown as the “godfather of black psychology,” Dr. White was born in 1932 in Lincoln, Neb. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from San Francisco State University and his PhD in clinical psychology from Michigan State University.

Dr. White spent most of his career at the University of California at Irvine, but held various titles at different locations around the United States, such as researcher, professor, dean, clinician and consultant. While at the California State University at Long Beach, he was instrumental in establishing the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which has provided “educational access and opportunity for more than 250,000 low-income and educationally disadvantaged students throughout California, the majority of whom are first-generation college students.” Details on the program are available at the Educational Opportunity Program website.

Dr. White contributed to the success of many students of color and worked as an advocate to reform the education system. He was one of the founders of the Association of Black Psychologists in 1968, and in 1970, he wrote an article in Ebony magazine that helped alter the perception of black psychology. The article brought to light the unique differences of how ethnic minorities should be treated and understood in psychology.

Dr. White was the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Citation of Achievement in Psychology and Community Service from President Clinton in 1994, the honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Minnesota in 2007, and Alumnus of the Year from San Francisco State University in 2008.

Bible, E., (2008). Joseph White named Alumnus of the Year. SF State News.


Psychologist Joseph L. White Receives Helms Award. (2003, February). Press Room from the Office of External Affairs, Volume VIII, No. 6.