Ed White to Receive Glenn Seaborg Award
2 August 2017
Photo courtesy The Desert Sun
College of Environmental Design alumnus Ed White (BLA ‘70) was awarded the 2017 Glenn T. Seaborg Award from Cal Athletics for his distinguished career in football, coaching, public service and his subsequent career as a sculptor and artist. The honor, named after the former University of California chancellor and 1951 Nobel Prize-winning chemist, is presented annually to a former Cal football player for his career accomplishments who represents the honored Cal principles and traditions of excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and attitude.
“Ed was one of my very first students in 1967, a really big guy who impressed me as such a gentleman — soft spoken and gracious off the field, hard on opposing teams on the gridiron,” explained Russ Beatty, Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and White’s former teacher. “His football career sidelined a career in landscape architecture, yet he went on in later life to become a fine artist and sculptor. In my mind he represents the best in student and professional athletics and this award is a well-deserved recognition of his athletic career, community service and artistic talent.”
White lettered for the Golden Bears as a defensive lineman under head coach Ray Willsey from 1966-68, earning consensus first-team All-American and first team All-Pac-8 recognition as a senior on Cal's “Bear Minimum” defense. Taken in the second round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, White became a dominant offensive lineman for 17 seasons on the pro level.
White was a member of four Super Bowl teams with the Vikings, where he played from 1969-77 before moving to the San Diego Chargers from 1978-85. He earned Pro Bowl invitations four times and ended his career having played in 241 games, which was the 11th most in NFL history at the time.
Following retirement from playing, White entered the coaching ranks and remained at the NFL level as an assistant coach for seven seasons with stops with the Chargers and Rams. He later coached at both San Diego State and Cal collegiately.
Since retiring from coaching in 2002, White has devoted much of his time and efforts to art. He has been commissioned to create a number of bronze sculptures, including for John Madden's All-Pro team, the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame and the San Diego Entertainer of the Year. Since 1992, White has served as executive director of the Oak Lake Art Center (OLAC), a non-profit, educational foundation that helps bring art to the local community, particularly working with at-risk youth. OLAC also works with the Kind Warriors project, which helps military veterans and retired football players who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
“The Glenn Seaborg Award represents one of the greatest honors I have ever hoped to receive,” White said. “Many years ago, my first Minnesota Viking quarterback, Cal Bear Joe Kapp, schooled me on the accomplishments of this incredible man. In turn, I felt the deep respect Joe had for Professor Seaborg. My brother is a Berkeley graduate in chemistry and there are also high school chemistry teachers in my family. These factors add to the significance of my receiving this award.”
“I played with a special group of Golden Bear brothers and learned this game under the guidance of an outstanding coaching staff,” White added. “My football career would not have been possible without them by my side. At this moment they stand by me as I accept this honor. I am very humbled to be included in this great group of Glenn Seaborg honorees. Thank you for this amazing moment in my life. Go Bears!”
White is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame and the Breitbard Hall of Fame in the San Diego Hall of Champions.
White will be officially honored at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, October 21 when Cal hosts Arizona State.