Sue K. Young

Published: September 28th, 2001

Category: Memos

Gail F. Baker, Vice President

Sue K. Young, wife of University of Florida President Charles Young, died today at the couple’s home in California after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 69.

“The entire University of Florida family mourns the passing of our First Lady,” said UF Provost David R. Colburn. “Regrettably, we had but a brief period of time to know her. But while Sue Young was with us, the university benefited from her grace, kindness, charm, and personal interest in our faculty and students. We are very grateful that she served as our First Lady and touched so many of our lives.”

A native of Colton, Calif., Sue Young accepted a scholarship to San Bernardino Valley College, where she met her husband. The couple married in 1950 and began their University of California-Los Angeles careers in 1960, when Charles Young joined the administration of Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy. Charles Young succeeded Murphy as chancellor in 1968. Having interrupted her own studies to raise their children, Sue Young resumed her education and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 1977, graduating magna cum laude. She then completed 18 months of graduate study in linguistics.

During the 1980s, Sue Young called national attention to the vital role of the chancellor’s or president’s spouse in the management and advancement of higher education. As chair of the Council of Presidents/Chancellors Spouses of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, she was an impassioned advocate on behalf of her peers at institutions around the country. She was one of 13 partners of American university leaders selected to contribute to the 1984 anthology, “The President’s Spouse: Volunteer or Volunteered?” This work addressed the controversial issue of compensation and other topics. In 1987, she was appointed Associate of the Chancellor, an official University of California position created largely as a result of her efforts to win full recognition for the spousal role in academic leadership.

Sue Young also was active in the international arena. She chaired the Host Committee for the Eighth General Conference of the International Association of Universities in 1984, overseeing an ambitious program of events to welcome 600 university delegates and their spouses to the United States and UCLA. She and her husband were jointly awarded the UCLA International Student Center’s 1987 Neil H. Jacoby International Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to international education.

An accomplished poet and lyricist, Sue Young was the author of The New Comprehensive American Rhyming Dictionary, the Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary for Children, and “Writing with Style,” also for children. She also served as an active member of the local alliance for the arts. In 1974, she held the distinction of being the second woman to serve on the Los Angeles Civil Service Commission. She has been a sought-after participant in conferences and meetings on women’s issues.

At the University of Florida, Sue Young was a member of the University Women’s Club and an honorary member of the University of Florida Performing Arts Advisory Board of Directors. On the UCLA campus, Mrs. Young served as an ex- officio member of the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, president of The Affiliates UCLA and a member of the boards of Women and Philanthropy at UCLA and the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging.

Sue Young received numerous honors and accolades, including the Eve Award, presented to her by a southern California association for distinction “in the realms of fashion and philanthropy.” The UCLA Alumni Association bestowed upon her a special University Service Award and a Distinguished Achievement Award, and the UCLA College of Letters and Science named her an Honorary Fellow — a distinction she shared with her husband in 1996.

Sue Young is survived by President Young; a son, Charles Young, Jr.; a daughter, Elizabeth Young-Apstein; and seven grandchildren. Services are pending. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mrs. Young’s name can be made to the Sue K. Young Scholarship Fund through the University of Florida Foundation.

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