Scott White

Scott White

CHAMPAIGN — Scott Ray White, 55, passed away Monday (May 28, 2018) at home and surrounded by his loving family after a long battle with ocular melanoma. 

Scott was the Donald B. Willett Professor in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  He was born in Kansas City, Mo., grew up in Harrisonville, Mo., and after high school graduation, attended the Missouri Institute of Science and Technology to obtain his B.S. in mechanical engineering. He continued on to obtain his M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington, his Ph.D. in engineering science from Penn State, then joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1990. Scott was a visionary researcher in the area of composite materials and was instrumental in creating the field of self-healing materials. He established the Autonomous Materials System group at The Beckman Institute, bringing together students and faculty from a range of disciplines to develop new materials with biologically inspired functions. He was an inspiring mentor, teacher and friend for the many students and faculty he worked with. Through his own example of hard work and determination, he was able to inspire us to set the bar higher, look for the next big discovery or run that extra mile.

His internationally recognized research had significant impact in both the academic community and commercial sector. Scott founded Autonomic Materials Incorporated (AMI), a Champaign-based startup company focused on developing self-healing coatings. He was also a founding partner of CU Aerospace, LLC, a research and development company based in Champaign.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Sottos; children, Amy and her husband, Jon LaMantia, of Wooster, Ohio, Evan White of Chicago and Audrey White of Champaign; grandchildren, Noah and Arlo LaMantia; parents, Ray and Connie White; and grandparents, Barbara and Charlie Givens of Harrisonville, Mo. 

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, June 3, at 1 p.m. at The Beckman Institute on the University of Illinois campus. Morgan Memorial Home is handling arrangements for the family (

Memorials can be made to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation (