On November 1, 1999 internationally recognized leader of higher education, Dr. Charles Young formally accepted the exciting opportunity to take the University of Florida into the 21st century. Chancellor emeritus of the University of California at Los Angeles, Dr. Young changed a regional college with an operating budget of $170 million into a world-class institution with expenses of $2 billion.*
Chuck Young was born and raised in the rural town of Highland, California and worked part-time in the citrus packing houses and orange groves. His senior year was divided between academics, football and the lead in the school plays. Chuck Young served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. His service time focused Young and by 1955, he graduated with honors from University of California at Riverside. He completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from UCLA. Almost immediately, he was tapped to begin assisting UCLA in expanding its facilities, enhancing its faculty and establishing a quality athletic department. When his mentor, Dr. Franklin Murphy, stepped down as chancellor, Dr. Murphy did not hesitate to recommend his protégé to take his place and at the age of 36, Chuck Young became the youngest leader piloting any major U.S. university.
During his 29 years as chancellor (equal to the office of UF president) of UCLA, Dr. Young made the university a partner with the Los Angeles area, emphasizing and building upon the key position of the university in community development and service. Among his accomplishments, Chancellor Young championed college student involvement in community and public service and was instrumental in efforts to reform K-12 education in Los Angeles.
Chancellor Young, a longtime member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Presidents Commission, has been a leader in reforming intercollegiate athletics, raising academic eligibility standards for student athletes and curbing recruiting abuse. In the process, UCLA’s athletic program blossomed and Dr. Young’s efforts helped make an indelible impact on the lives of student athletes throughout America.
Dr. Young’s responsibilities and accomplishments stretched far beyond the UCLA campus. He is a former chairman of the prestigious Association of American Universities and has served on numerous commissions including those of the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the Business-Higher Education Forum. A strong and early advocate of internationalism and inclusiveness for his university, Dr. Young has received the Award for Inter-American University Cooperation from the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education, the International Education Leadership Award from the Coalition for International Education, and he and his late wife, Sue, were jointly awarded the UCLA International Student Center’s Neil H. Jacoby International Award. Other awards and recognition include his election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has earned the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation, the designation as a “Treasure of Los Angeles” by the Los Angeles Central City Association, and the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Council on Education.
Dr. Young has been a strong supporter and advisor to the arts, business, education, finance, technology and health care industries. He has been selected to a number of boards of directors for finance, technology and health care industries. These boards include or have included Intel Corp., Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
When Dr. Young retired as chancellor of UCLA in 1997, he was the senior chief executive by tenure among his peer chancellors and presidents throughout the United States, and his signature authorized two-thirds of all the diplomas issued during the nearly 80 year history of UCLA. He left a campus that had benefited in a myriad and diverse ways during his watch at the helm. In the words of the university’s official biography, “Young’s leadership was distinguished by a commitment to excellence that pervaded every facet of UCLA – from the quality of faculty and students recruited, to the research facilities constructed, to the park-like environment of the campus, to health care services, to public arts events, to the athletics program.”
The University of Florida is proud to have the honor and privilege to have Dr. Charles E. Young bring his unique and well-recognized leadership and experience to Gainesville.
*Our thanks to the University of California at Los Angeles, including UCLA Magazine (Spring 1994), for many of the descriptions and facts provided herein.