In memoriam: Professor emeritus Maury White

Professor emeritus Maurice E. “Maury” White, who oversaw the education of more than 3,000 students as Short Course director, and whose booming baritone was known statewide as the voice of UW farm radio, died on March 15 in Madison at the age of 95.

CALS professor and UW farm radio director Maury White conducts an interview in the field.

“Maury was the epitome of the Wisconsin Idea,” recalls professor emeritus and WHA host Larry Meiller, who was one of White’s advisees and took over the noon show when White took the Short Course directorship. “When I took over the radio show I received many, many letters from listeners, thanking Maury for all he had done for them. I remember thinking at the time that there was no way I would ever be able to come close to matching his impact on the people of our state.”

White had retired in 1983, 45 years after he first arrived on campus as an undergrad from Clam Falls in Polk County. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in agricultural journalism at the UW and joined the agricultural journalism (now life sciences communication) faculty of the in 1947 as director of the university’s farm radio program. Except for a two-year stint as farm radio director at Ohio State and time at Cornell to earn his Ph.D., he remained behind the microphone until 1968 when he was named Farm and Industry Short Course director—a position he held until his retirement. He estimated that he’d spent more than 2,500 hours in Studio C of Old Radio Hall working on the noon farm show and other ag features.

As a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Journalism (now Life Sciences Communication), his teaching and research focused on agricultural communications and broadcasting. In addition to teaching UW students, he instructed county agents from Wisconsin and other states in the use of radio and television. He is survived by his wife, Grace, four children, six grandchildren and a sister. For more on his life and suggestions for memorial contributions, read his obituary.