For release November 17, 2006
SPACE INSTITUTE NAMES CIRCLE
The large circle in front of The University of
Tennessee Space Institute has been named “The Robert L. Young
Circle,” Dr. Donald C. Daniel announced during a program honoring
Professor Young, who died Oct. 31.
“We will invite the public
to come back this spring when the sun is shining for another
ceremony to formally dedicate the circle,” promised Daniel, UT
associate vice president and UTSI’s chief operating officer.
Five speakers, including two professors who helped Dr. Young
get classes started at the Institute after it opened on Sept. 24,
1964, joined Daniel in the “Celebration of Life” held Nov. 16 for
the first academic director, associate dean, and professor of
aeronautics and mechanical engineering. The Rev. Bill Starnes, a
friend and fellow Rotarian with Dr. Young, gave the
Ronnie Young of Franklin, oldest of the Tullahoma
professor’s three children, responded on behalf of the family. He
said he learned from his father that “you love family, friends, and
your work” and remember that family and friends wouldn’t “always be
on your side.” His father also taught him that “it is better to give
than receive,” Ronnie said, adding that after retiring in 1990 Dr.
Young stayed busy for 16 years “doing things for other
Dr. William Snyder, one of the first professors
hired for the Institute and later Dean of Engineering and Chancellor
at UT Knoxville, and Dr. Jimmy Wu, professor emeritus, recalled
challenges they shared with Dr. Young when classes were held at AEDC
while the UTSI building was under construction. An accomplished
organist, Snyder, recalling “six wonderful years working with Bob,”
whom he likened to a “brother,” also played some of Dr. Young’s
favorite songs during the program.
“Bob was a leader who
made us want to be the best we could be,” Snyder said.
William Kimzey, former chairman of the UTSI Support Council who
earned two degrees at UTSI, read from a letter he wrote to Bob Young
the morning of the celebration. He recalled their first meeting in
1962 while Young was in charge of the UT-AEDC graduate program at
AEDC before UTSI was established.
John Rampy, one of three
lieutenants sent from the Air Force Institute of Technology as
full-time students in the fall of 1964, recounted Dr. Young’s
tireless efforts to get the academic program off the ground. Rampy
praised him as an educator who helped his students grow. Dr. Young
used “reverse logic” in formulating his tests, Rampy recalled,
making them complex and challenging.
Dr. K.C. Reddy,
professor emeritus and former academic dean, recalled a friendship
extending over 40 years and remembered that Dr. Young was well-liked
and respected at the Institute as well as at UT Knoxville because of
Numerous friends and former colleagues
attended the ceremony including Dr. Ken Tempelmeyer, one-time head
of UTSI’s Energy Conversion Program and professor of engineering
science at the Institute, Dr. Kenneth Harwell, former UTSI dean,
professor and once dean of the Institute’s Gas Diagnostic Division,
Robert Dietz, former director of the von Karman Institute in Belgium
and long-time Support Council member and Mrs. Dietz, and Dick
Farrar, chairman of the Support Council.
At the conclusion,
Dr. Young was given “the last word” when a recording was played in
which he spoke of having had the rare opportunity of being “involved
in something which started from very little, but has become quite
Scott Alan Young talks with Dr.
Donald C. Daniel after a program celebrating the life
of Scott’s father Dr. Robert L.
Dr. Joel W. Muehlhauser, left, introduces
Dr. Ken Tempelmeyer to Dick Farrar, chairman of the UTSI
Dr. Bill Snyder and Mrs. Snyder visit with
Scott Alan Young at the UTSI ceremony honoring his
Chatting after the ceremony for Dr.
Robert L. Young are, from left, Dr. Bill Kimzey, Dick
Farrar, and John Rampy.
Writer: Weldon Payne (931) 393-7222