Obituary from Corvallis Gazette Times (5/1/2013)
March 1, 1921 — April 19, 2013
Roy Alton Young, university administrator, scientist and educator, passed away on April 19, 2013, in Corvallis, following a lengthy illness. He was 92 years of age.
He was born the son of John A. Young and Etta J. (Sprinkle) Young on March 1, 1921, in McAlister, N.M., where he grew up on the family ranch. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from New Mexico State University, and his Master of Science degree in 1942 from Iowa State University.
He was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, serving as a deck officer, navigator, antisubmarine warfare officer, and Executive Officer in the Atlantic and Pacific areas of operation from 1942 to 1946. He served in the Navy Reserve from 1946 to 1954 and was promoted to the rank of Lt. Commander. He returned to Iowa State following the end of World War II, and was awarded his doctoral degree in plant pathology and botany in 1948.
From 1948 to 1976, Dr. Young was a professor at Oregon State University, serving as head of the department of botany and plant pathology from 1958 to 1966, dean of research from 1966 to 1969, acting president in 1969 and 1970, and vice president for research from 1970 to 1976. In 1985 Dr. Young received Oregon State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
The award citation described him as one of the outstanding leaders in the history of OSU, and as a scholar, gentleman and man of great talent and integrity who helped build the campus to national prominence, and as a prime mover in the designation of OSU as one of four Sea Grant Centers in the United States, the growth of research and scientific programs, and securing of facilities.
Dr. Young served as chancellor of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, from 1976 to 1980. He led efforts at UNL to increase the quality standards for student admissions and enhancement of the teaching and research programs of the campus. Dr. Young departed UNL to accept the post of president and managing director of the prestigious Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Ithaca, N.Y., where he served from 1980 to 1986.
He published extensively, and was a member of numerous advisory and study committees of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Young served as president of the Pacific Divisions of the American Phytopathological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was active in national energy and environmental programs.
He also served on the executive committee of the National Governors’ Council on Science and Technology. Dr. Young was a member of the Rockefeller Foundation panel on postdoctoral fellowships in environmental sciences, and he held various leadership positions in the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.
He received the Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from New Mexico State University in 1978. Dr. Young and his wife, Marilyn, received the 2004 Dan Poling Service Award from OSU. Dr. Young was a member of Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Sigma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Rotary.
Dr. Young also was a member of the Boards of Pacificorp, Pacific Power & Light Co., First National Bank of Lincoln, Security Trust Company of Ithaca, Ithaca College, the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology, and the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum.
Dr. Young is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Marilyn; and their two children, Janet of Merced, Calif., and Randall of Portland, his wife, Nancy, and their children, Katherine and Robert. He was preceded in death by his brother, John E. Young of McAlister.