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Jim White Remembered: Clemson honors alumnus lost in September 11, 2001 attacks

“Jim didn’t have to prove anything to anybody,” said Wes Few, James P. White’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brother. “There was no pretense about him. … Jim just wanted to have fun.” 
White was the only Clemson alumnus to lose his life during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, along with 2,995 other victims. His name is engraved on panel N-39 of the National September 11 Memorial where the twin towers once stood. 
“Jim was always surprising you,” Few told The Tiger. 
White worked in the World Trade Center’s north tower, ran with the bulls in Spain, finished three New York City Marathons and rose through the ranks of Cantor-Fitzgerald to become one of its youngest partners, according to Few. 
Few recalled when he and White played tennis.
“I was ok…I was like real rusty, but I could still hit a big serve,” said Few. “[It] turns out (Jim is) a pretty damn good tennis player. … He would surprise you with [that kind of] stuff.” 
After growing up in New Jersey, White moved to South Carolina to attend Clemson University. He joined ATO during his freshman year.
“In the spring semester, we were kind of like let’s try this rush thing and see what it’s like,” said Few. “We both pledged ATO fraternity and…that’s how we became friends – by being in the same pledge class and going through all that together, going around getting signatures from all the brothers and bartending at the formals.” Few added, “In a matter of weeks, we were friends hanging out (and had) more in common than we really understood at the time.”
White graduated from Clemson with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and a minor in finance in 1989. After graduation, he moved to New Jersey to find a job and be closer to his family. 
“He always wanted to work on Wall Street. It was his dream,” said Mike White, Jim’s brother. “Getting that job at Cantor-Fitzgerald was a dream come true.” 
While working at Cantor-Fitzgerald, White attended night classes at St. John’s University, earning a Master of Business Administration and graduating with highest honors and a near-perfect GPA. 
Few said that White was a disciplined student and respected for his hard work by all who knew him. White took up to 19 hours per semester as a sophomore, junior and senior to graduate in four years.
“Of course he (graduated) and he made good grades,” said Few, adding that his fraternity brothers were impressed by securing the Cantor-Fitzgerald job.
“You would hear guys in the fraternity say things like, ‘He’s the president, he’s making all of this money,’ and Jim was probably making as much or more than them,” said Few. “But (his salary) was just never part of his identity. It didn’t have to be. He didn’t need that.”
In the first few days following 9/11, the message board on the website created by Few and his friends in tribute to White lit up with memories from fellow Clemson alumni and co-workers. 
“(The website) was definitely helpful to the whole family,” White’s sister, Rachel Glavis, told The Seneca Journal. “I still have all that. I printed it all out. It’s good to revisit it.” 
Glavis said White’s Clemson friends “immediately” sent messages, stories and pictures of Jim on Clemson’s campus to the message board.
“It was neat to hear some of the stories about college-aged Jim,” said Glavis, laughing. 
Jim’s girlfriend and colleague at Cantor-Fitzgerald, Amy O’Doherty, was also killed in the attack. They had only been dating for a few weeks, Few told The Tiger. Her name is on the same panel as White’s name at the 9/11 Memorial. 
A memorial service for White was held on September 22, 2001 in New Jersey. A moment of silence was held at the same time in front of the IPTAY offices in his honor.
In 2002, White’s friends and family established the James P. White Memorial Scholarship Endowment to provide need-based scholarships to deserving Clemson students. Forty-two scholarships have been awarded so far, according to Few.
Few said that people who knew Jim agree that he would be thrilled to see Clemson students being helped in his name.
“Clemson was big for him,” said Few. 
Few and his wife ran into Jim at two Clemson-Carolina games in the early 1990s.
“He loved (Clemson). He stayed connected and stayed in touch.”
Some of White’s ATO brothers also founded the Jim White Memorial Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the event go towards the scholarship fund.  
Few remembers when he and his fraternity brothers created the tournament’s rules.
“We were like, ‘Could you imagine what Jim would have been like?’” said Few. “He didn’t play golf so everybody thought he’d just be hitting from the red tee.”
The red tee is for beginners.
“He wouldn’t care. He would just do it and laugh,” said Few. 
Oct. 14 marks the tournament’s fifthteenth year. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Walker Course in Clemson. 
“We’ve had people who’ve never played golf before that started playing and coming to the tournament just to honor him and be a part of getting together with the old crowd and meeting his family,” said Few.  
Fifteen years later, White’s legacy still lives on. 
“Jim was as fine a person as you’d ever want to meet,” said ATO brother David Bowman.

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