Senate Tributes - "Y"


British Columbia lost a noted native son and outstanding economist when John Young died on July 7, 1980. Death came a few weeks after his return to his home city of Victoria, following an extended illness.

Born in 1922, John Young attended school in Victoria. He started his economics career as a bank teller, but joined the RCAF in 1940. He served as a pilot until the end of the war, returning home as a Squadron Leader in 1945 with the Air Force Cross. After a winter at Victoria College, he went to Queen's University to study political science. He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1948 and the Master of Arts degree the following year. He was awarded a Beaver Club scholarship in 1949 and went to Cambridge University to specialize in economics. He received his doctor's degree in 1955.

John Young returned to Canada in 1951 and spent the next two years as an economist in the Joint Intelligence Bureau of the Department of National Defence. He joined the staff of Yale University in 1953 and reached the rank of Associate Professor in 1958.

In 1960 he accepted an invitation to become Professor and Head of the Department of Economics and Political Science at U.B.C. In this capacity, he made a significant contribution to the academic growth of his department, and to its recognition in the community; he also participated in the creation of a separate department of Political Science. When Dean Healy left U.B.C. in 1968 to become Vice-President of York University, John Young became Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and was appointed to the Deanship the following spring. He was destined, however, to be Dean of Arts, for only a few months. His talents were well recognized, and Ottawa beckoned. In 1955 he had served as senior economist for the Gordon Royal Commission on Canada's Economic Prospects, and in 1962, he returned to serve on the Porter Royal Commission on Banking and Finance. In 1969, he was asked to set up the federal government's Prices and Incomes Commission, and became its chairman. When this controversial Commission completed its report in 1972, John Young returned to U.B.C. as Professor of Economics. In spite of a stated determination to find fulfilment in the academic life by "drawing supply and demand curves on the blackboard", he was soon back in Ottawa as an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of Finance. His extensive knowledge of contemporary economics later led to his appointment as a leading official for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

John Young was a member of Senate while Acting Dean, and Dean, of Arts from 1968 to 1970.

In 1944 he was married to Katherine Farr of Brantford, Ontario, who predeceased him.

To his second wife, Susan Dexter, his daughters, Ann Elizabeth and Katherine, to his sons, Geoffrey and Peter, and to all members of the family, Senate extends its deepest sympathy.

John's untimely death deprives his many friends and admirers at the University, in the international academic world and in the world community of researchers, policy makers, and administrators, of a devoted, stimulating and tireless servant.


No organization as complex as The University of British Columbia could operate efficiently without the assistance of a loyal and dedicated support staff. In this regard, Ken Young provided the leadership so vital to the success of the academic enterprise. Directly or indirectly, he touched the lives of every student of this University, from the time of application to the day of graduation. He offered his services cheerfully, conscientiously, and often well beyond the normal call of duty.

Kenneth Young was born in Edmonton in 1938. He earned degrees in Arts and Commerce from the University of Alberta and, after serving as assistant registrar at the University of Calgary, accepted a similar position in this institution in 1965. In 1980 he succeeded Jack Parnall as Registrar.

During his time in Office, Ken Young became an essential source of information in all of those policies and procedures which sustain academe.

It may be said of his diplomatic skills that no matter how complex the issue nor how tangled the procedures, Ken Young always found a way.

No member of the academic community knew more faculty more support staff, or more students than he. In each case his interest was sincere and unreserved. He served on innumerable committees, often providing the continuity necessary to complete the task before them. He displayed a similar level of dedication in the wide community as a member of the Board of St. Paul's Hospital Foundation from 1985 to 1987.

Ken Young was a loyal servant of this University. He followed in the tradition of outstanding registrars whose contributions are so often assumed and so rarely recognized.

It is appropriate that the Senate, a body to which he devoted so much of his patient energy, should record its appreciation of Kenneth Young in the minutes of this meeting.

To his surviving family the Senate of The University of British Columbia extends its deepest sympathy.


The President noted with sadness the recent passing of Mary Margaret Young, a longtime friend to the University. A memorial service had been held on December 13, 2005 at the First Nations House of Learning. President Piper stated that Mrs. Young had demonstrated enormous commitment to UBC, and that there was no part of the University that had not been touched by the quiet generosity of Mrs. Young and her late husband, Mr. W. Maurice Young. President Piper expressed, on behalf of members of Senate, condolences to Mrs. Young’s family.


Walter D. Young, Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria, died March 10 at the age of 51. A gifted teacher, scholar, and administrator, Professor Young served on the faculty of The University of British Columbia for 11 years.

Walter Young was born in Winnipeg, moving to Victoria at an early age. He received his B.A. in honours English and History from UBC in 1955 and as a Rhodes Scholar, an M.A. degree from Oxford in 1957. Upon his return to Canada, he took teaching positions at the Canadian Services College, Royal Roads, United College in Winnipeg, and in 1959-1960 in the Department of Political Science at the University of Manitoba. He continued his graduate studies at the University of Toronto, receiving a doctorate in 1965.

Professor Young came to UBC in 1962 and served as Head of the Department of Political Science from October 1969 until his resignation in June 1973, when he took a position at the University of Victoria.

Walter Young contributed numerous talents to a variety of departmental, faculty and university enterprises. He was one of the organizers of the Arts I programme and, with Margaret Prang, launched the major academic journal dealing with the history, politics and society of British Columbia, B.C. Studies. He was elected to the committee on long-range prospects of the University, and served on the Board of Directors of the UBC Press. In 1969 he was elected to the Senate by the Joint Faculties.

Professor Young's research interests focussed on the CCF party, on which he wrote the definitive history. He devoted a life-long interest to the NDP party in this province and in the country. Never a narrow specialist, he personified the scholar whose concerns bridge the divisions between the humanities, history, and the social sciences.

He was an active participant in NDP party affairs, and in 1974 chaired the University Government Committee whose report to the Minister of Education led to the creation of the Universities Council.

Walter Young was a superb teacher, not only as a lecturer, but in his devotion of time to the intellectual development of his students. He was acknowledged as one of Canada's outstanding political scientists. He served as president of the Canadian Political Science Association in 1980-81 and in many other ways contributed to the development of the discipline in this country.

The Walter D. Young Prize for the outstanding student in the area of Canadian politics has been established in his honour.

Senate extends deepest sympathy to his wife Beryl and their three children.

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