Many students and alumni have vivid memories of those special professors who greatly influenced their lives as both teacher and mentor. In this edition of The Last Word, Carnegie Mellon Today salutes Hugh D. Young for being one of those extraordinary individuals.
How will your obituary read?
Although we rarely think about it, we're writing it every day of our lives.
That was the point of a lecture a few years back by physics legend Hugh D. Young (S'52, '53, 59; A'72) as part of the Division of Student Affairs' "Last Lecture Series." This spring, Dr. Young's retirement brought back memories of that very popular presentation.
Young encouraged students to accept and strive to meet challenges, to get involved in social and political issues, and to "make a difference" by being the best they can possibly be. That's how to ensure a good obituary, he said.
An accomplished pianist and avid mountain climber who reached the 14,000-foot summit of the Grand Teton on several occasions, Young practiced what he preached. He made a difference.
"That man taught physics like you wouldn't believe," said alumna Candace Sheffield Matthews (E'81), president of SoftSheen-Carson, a consumer products division of L'Oreal USA, Inc. Matthews shared the commencement stage with Young last spring as the keynote speaker.
"He literally wrote the book on physics," she said. "He was one of the professors who had a tremendous impact on me. He has a passion for physics and was truly engaging. Anybody who can take physics, a tremendously difficult subject, and get you to understand it and like it, deserves a lot of credit."
"One of the great things about Hugh Young's class was that even in an introductory course with 100 students, I felt like he was concerned about the academic and personal success of each of us," said Elizabeth Warner (E'98).(Continued …)