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Gary White: Water Warrior

Missouri University of Science and Technology graduate joins forces with actor Matt Damon to form Water.org.

In 1984, Gary White traveled to Guatemala with a student organization that he had established for students who wanted to volunteer for development projects around the world.

"I can still clearly see the little girl who brought the water and sanitation crisis into striking focus for me," says White. "She had a determined expression on her face as she dipped her can into a rusty barrel of contaminated water. Heaving the can into her arms, she walked alongside a stream of open sewage back to her shack. At that moment, I knew what my life was going to be about — bringing safe drinking water to people living without it."

White earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering at Missouri S&T in 1985 and 1987, respectively. In 1990, he founded WaterPartners. In 2009, the thriving organization merged with actor Matt Damon's non-profit, H20 Africa, to form Water.org. So far, White has been instrumental in transforming more than 600,000 lives in Africa, South Asia and Central America through better access to safe water and sanitation.

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