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UTSI Invites Public to ‘Celebration of Life’ Honoring Robert L. Young

A “Celebration of Life” ceremony for Robert Lyle Young scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 16 at The University of Tennessee Space Institute is open to the public, Donald C. Daniel has announced.

Young, a pioneer professor, associate dean, and director of academics at the Space Institute, died Oct. 31 at the age of 81. He left Northwestern University, his alma mater where he was teaching in 1957, to lead UT’s graduate program at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) for seven years. In preparation for the start-up of UTSI in the fall of 1964, Young assembled an academic program, and as deputy director and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, began his 26-year career at the Space Institute.

“We especially look forward to Bob’s friends, former students, and associates from throughout the area joining us in celebrating his life and the impact he had not only at the Space Institute but also in his church and community,” said Daniel, UT associate vice president and chief operating officer of UTSI.

William Snyder of Knoxville, one of the full-time professors on board when the Institute opened Sept. 24, 1964, will be among guest speakers at the ceremony.

Born April 3, 1925, on a small farm four miles from Neoga, Ill., Young was an active member of Tullahoma First Presbyterian Church and of the Tullahoma Rotary Club. After moving to Tullahoma, he discovered that his great-great-grandfather James Dryden had been born nearby in the Blue Stocking Hollow in southern Bedford County.

In 1978, Young asked to be relieved of administrative duties so that he could concentrate on what he insisted was the choice position on any university, that of professor. Before retiring in 1990, he served as major professor for 10 students earning Ph.D.’s and 80 students receiving master’s degrees at UTSI.

His survivors include his wife, Sara Crawford Young of Tullahoma; three sons, Ronald Young of Franklin, Scott Alan Young of Tullahoma, and Scot Robertson of Estill Springs; four step-sons, Daniel, Matthew, and John Crawford of Tullahoma, and Michael Crawford of Jacksonville, Fla., and two grandchildren, Dillon and Dryden Young of Tullahoma.

The program will be held in the UTSI auditorium.