A giant of university leadership who served for three decades as UCLA chancellor, then led other institutions after “retirement,” is Linda P.B. Katehi’s first guest in her 2013-14 Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series, starting next week.
Charles E. “Chuck” Young, in a visit postponed from last year, will speak on “The University of California: Past, Present and Future.”
He knows his subject well, not only as a former chancellor but as a faculty member and student. He did his undergraduate work on the Riverside campus and graduate work at UCLA, where he became a professor of political science.
He was 36 when he was tapped to become chancellor in 1968, pledging to advance the “southern branch” of UC “from the second level of good universities to the first rank of excellent universities.”
He held the post until 1997, having weathered an array of student protests, a hunger strike, civil disobedience and other unrest only to emerge as not only a popular chancellor among students and faculty but a recognized leader of a top research university.
He championed athletic greatness — UCLA boasts more than 100 NCAA titles — while leading nationwide reforms of intercollegiate athletics, raising academic eligibility standards for athletes, and curbing recruitment and other abuses. Young remains committed to those endeavors as a member of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, on which he has served since its inception over 20 years ago.
Upon his retirement from UCLA, he had been the longest-serving college leader in the nation. The Young Research Library at UCLA bears his name, as does Charles E. Young Drive, the circular road inside campus.
He was drafted back into the academic world a short time later, serving as president of the University of Florida from 1999 to 2004 and of the Qatar Foundation from 2004 to 2006.
After returning from Qatar, he served as chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, from 2008 to 2010, during which time he helped in the museum’s positive turnaround.
Young received a bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from UC Riverside in 1955, and followed that up with a master’s degree in 1957 and a doctorate in 1960, both from UCLA.
His talk is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the Vanderhoef Sttudio theatre at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. A reception will follow.
The program is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested, and can be arranged online.