James Wesley White
The James Wesley White, Jr. Scholarship Fund (“Fund”) was established in 2006 by the family of James “Jay” Wesley White, Jr., who left this physical world in early 2006. The creation of the Fund will celebrate his life and provide a lasting memory in his name for those close to him, and even for those who were not.
The mission of the Fund is to provide deserving students with an opportunity to pursue their dreams of becoming an actor/actress. An annual scholarship of $1500 will be given to at least one deserving sophomore or junior student attending Loyola University Chicago majoring in theatre to be applied in their junior or senior year.
James “Jay” Wesley White, Jr. was a born entertainer. From an early age, he would put on a show on Sunday evenings for the family. While attending Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Jay joined the Jesuit Philelectic Society—an organization dedicated to educating students in all aspects of theatre arts by producing high quality amateur theatre for the New Orleans area. Jay truly enjoyed participating with the “Phils,” which allowed him to sing, dance, and act. It also introduced him to set design and lighting effects. Jay appeared in six productions with the Phils, including Guys and Dolls, where he portrayed Benny Southstreet.
Jay loved theatre so much that he majored in it at Loyola University, Chicago. In addition to completing the degree requirements in theatre, Jay continued to develop his acting skills by participating in productions, both on and off campus. Jay appeared in several productions, portraying characters such as Emcee in Chicago, Charley in Death of Salesman, Boyet in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Godfrey Crumb in Crumbs from the Table of Joy. He also experienced off campus professional roles as Howie Newsome in Our Town, Henson in Ragtime, and Henry Fuqua in At Last: Etta James. His final performance was in the Loyola University production of Sweeney Todd, where he portrayed the lead character Sweeney Todd. Jay was phenomenal in this performance.
Jay absolutely loved being on stage and in the spotlight. His participation in so many productions allowed him to engage thousands of people. Many only saw him as another actor. But those who knew him received so much joy from knowing him. Not only because he was a great actor and entertainer, but because of his humor, good nature, beautiful smile, and shining soul.
Jay’s life ended much too soon. And though he will no longer make a direct contribution to society through one of his splendid performances, he will continue to contribute theatre in a meaningful way by helping others—through his scholarship-- pursue their dreams to be an actor or participate in theatre.
Past recipients are:
- Alexa Haynes, 2015-2016
- Alexander D Wood, 2014-2015
- Ann Rose Murphy, 2013-2014
- Corrine Natyshak, 2012-2013
- Kyle Geissler, 2011-2012
- Christopher Thompson, 2010-2011
- Anna Taylor, 2008-2009