Roy A. Young

Roy A. Young

Portrait of Roy Young

Chancellorship Dates

August 1, 1976 - July 18, 1980


  • B.S., New Mexico State University
  • M.S., Iowa State University, 1942
  • Ph.D., Iowa State University, 1948
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws, New Mexico State University, 1978


March 1, 1921 - McAlister, New Mexico


April 19, 2013 - Corvallis, Oregon


River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon

Roy A. Young served as the university's chancellor from 1976-1980.

Young 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 lieutenant 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, 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, Young received Oregon State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.

During his time at UNL, Young oversaw the College of Dentistry’s move to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It was also at Young’s recommendation in 1979 that the School of Journalism, now known as the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, become separate from the College of Arts and Sciences. Upon his arrival in Lincoln from Oregon State University, Young was charged with increasing research activity and outside funding, and by 1980 UNL achieved a record $30 million in grants, contracts and gifts – 8 million more than the previous year and 11 million in the year before that. By his third year in office, he found that external grants were up by more than 100 percent and rising.

Young also was known for setting up a system of Faculty Development Fellowships, similar to sabbaticals, that allowed qualified professors to go on leave for a semester or year at half pay. Young initiated UNL’s affiliation with the National Merit Scholars program in 1978 in an effort to provide more opportunities for merit scholars to attend the university.

He led efforts at UNL to increase the quality standards for student admissions and enhancement of the teaching and research programs of the campus.

He departed UNL in the summer of 1980 to accept the post of president and managing director of the prestigious Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Ithaca, New York, where he served from 1980 to 1986.

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