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TN Rep. Mark White named ICM's Outstanding Alumni of the Year

Lipscomb University's Institute for Conflict Management is making a difference, and they recently honored one alum who is making a difference in his community.

Kim Chaudoin  | 

Rep. Mark White and dean Steve Joiner standing

Rep. Mark White, left, and College of Leadership & Public Service dean Steve Joiner.

Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management has named Tennessee legislator Rep. Mark White (R-District 83) its 2019 Outstanding Alumni of the Year. 

White, of Memphis, graduated from Lipscomb in May 2018 with a Master of Arts degree in conflict management. 

“Lipscomb has always had a special place in my heart,” said White, whose father attended Lipscomb in the 1950s to pursue a ministry degree. “I am so appreciative that Lipscomb would even think of me for this honor. I’m going to put this on the top shelf of my bookshelf.”

White is the first recipient of this inaugural award created by the institute to recognize alumni who are leaders in the field of conflict management. 

“Mark is one of our outstanding graduates. We are proud of the work that Mark does. He represents the field of conflict management so well,” said Steve Joiner, dean of Lipscomb’s College of Leadership & Public Service which houses the Institute for Conflict Management. “We are in a time in politics that could be described as divisive. Mark is a leader in a party that, because of its majority in the House, could run over others if it wanted to. But Mark has been described to me by others as the statesman who has figured out how to bridge those conversations. Because of the work he has done, the respect that he has and the tremendous example that he is, we want to award our first Institute for Conflict Management Outstanding Alumni Award to Mark White.”   

Lipscomb has always had a special place in my heart.' — Rep. Mark White
Man standing at podium talking to group of people.

Rep. Mark White

Elected to the 83rd Tennessee Judicial District in 2010, White has served on many committees, including Consumer and Human Resources, Fiscal Review, Education Administration and Planning, and Children & Family Affairs. He served as a chair for the Collierville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and has also served as a chair of the Tennessee Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. In 2008, White was recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business as the “Small Business Person of the Year.”  In 2007, White was named the “Statesman of the Year” by the Tennessee GOP party. Prior to his political career, White served as a principal of Harding Academy in Memphis. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis.

White said the lessons learned through his conflict management graduate studies have impacted his daily work and outlook on life. 

“I love to find solutions. What being in the conflict management program while also serving in the General Assembly has taught me is to not be so uptight about things,” White reflected.  “Conflict is natural. When I sat in committee meetings and people offered their opinions about a bill, I learned to not get uptight about it. I learned to find the good in those opinions and to work to find the solution. Don’t let conflict upset you. That’s one of the biggest lessons I learned as a student in the Institute for Conflict Management. Enjoy the ride. Conflict is natural, let’s find solutions.” 

He and his wife, Kathy, have one child, Bonny, and two grandchildren. He is a member of the Highland Street Church of Christ in Memphis.

A part of the College of Leadership and Public Service, the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management assembles the best thinkers from a wide range of fields—law, business, sociology—to examine why conflicts arise and develops and teaches skills based on best practices in this important area of public life. The institute offers a graduate certificate and a Master of Arts degree in conflict management as well was Rule 31 Mediation Training, an annual professional skills program and the Southeastern Conference on Conflict Management.

Want to know more about Lipscomb's Institute for Conflict Management? Visit