December 16, 2002
The Rev. James A. Young, S.M., Ph.D., eighth president of St. Mary’s University, died on Monday,
Dec. 16, 2002, at the Marianist Residence on St. Mary’s campus. He was 87 and in the 70th year
of his religious profession in the Society of Mary.
Services for Young will be conducted at Holy Rosary Church, 159 Camino Santa Maria. Rosary will be at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 18. The funeral Mass will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, followed by interment in the Marianist
cemetery on campus.
He was president of St. Mary’s University from 1973 to 1981.
James Anthony Young was the only boy born to Jacob and Julia Haas Young in Madison, Wisc., on Sept. 10, 1915. He had six sisters. While a student at Holy Redeemer grade school where he was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, he became acquainted with Brother Francis Meyer, the Marianist vocation recruiter for the St. Louis Province, who was visiting the area.
In 1929, Young became a postulant at Maryhurst in Kirkwood, Mo., where he continued his studies and religious formation. He professed his first vows on Aug. 15, 1933. After college studies at Maryhurst and St. Mary’s University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin from St. Mary’s in 1936. His high school teaching career began with three one-year assignments, including McBride in St. Louis, Central Catholic in San Antonio and Central Catholic in East St. Louis. In 1939, he was among a pioneering group of Marianists who taught Coyle High School (now Vianney). On Aug. 10, 1937, he professed his final vows at Chaminade College Preparatory. In 1993, he celebrated his 60th anniversary of his religious profession.
His began his seminary studies the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from where he obtained a master’s degree in philosophy and continued at St. Meinrad’s Abbey in Meinrad, Indiana, where he was ordained as a Catholic priest on Feb. 2, 1945. Following his ordination, he continued teaching on the secondary level: Central Catholic in San Antonio for one year, North Side in St. Louis (1946 to 1948), followed by assignments at St. Michael’s in Chicago (1948 to 1952) and Don Bosco in Milwaukee (1952 to 1953).
Young taught religion, English, Latin, social studies and algebra. Additional duties included moderating elocution, debating, public speaking, choral groups and sodality. He also served as community and school chaplain and preached at retreats. Moreover, Young coached football, baseball and served as athletic director.
A key assignment came in 1953 when he was assigned to St. Mary’s to teach in the philosophy department. Then in 1957 he was appointed academic vice president-dean of faculty. It was during this time that he drafted his “Academic Blueprint,” which charted the University’s future growth and development in and out of the classroom. For his doctoral studies, he commuted to the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1961.
During 1961 to 1971, Young was the Provincial Superior of the St. Louis Province and chairman of the St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees. Previously, he had served as a Provincial Chapter delegate since 1951, and was a delegate to the General Chapter meetings in 1956 and 1961, respectively. Young’s 10-year tenure as Provincial coincided with many changes within the Catholic church and the Society of Mary religious order. He witnessed the continuing surge of vocations that required an extensive building program for the novitiate and Scholasticate on St. Mary’s campus. Following Vatican II, he was a delegate to the General Chapter in 1966-1967 when it revised the Society’s constitutions that effected many other developments for Marianists. The novitiate at Maryhurst was razed, the Provincial house moved to Glencoe, Mo., and the Second Novitiate to New Haven, Conn. The U.S. Seminary was established in St. Louis. During his second term of office, the pattern of members leaving the Society of Mary began to intensify. During his last year as Provincial in 1971 the General Chapter was held for the first time in the U. S. in San Antonio.
After leaving office, Young spent a sabbatical year at St. Michael’s in Chicago. Upon his return to teaching at St. Mary’s, he was appointed as president of the University in 1973. His eight-year presidency during 1973 to 1981 was distinguished by a major campus building program. Following his last term in office, he remained at the University until 1984, when he was assigned to Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth. He was later honored as President Emeritus (1981) and a Distinguished Alumnus (1994) because of his exceptional dedication to St. Mary’s.
He then spent one year at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Fort Worth before being appointed director of the Nolan High School community. When his term ended in 1991, he continued serving as chaplain to two local convents, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur and the Carmelite Sisters. Due to declining health, Young, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, retired to the Marianist Residence at St. Mary’s in 1999.
Young is survived by Rosemary Johnson, sister, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.; Robert Bohnen, brother-in-law, of Madison,
Wisc.; and Mary Pinkerton, niece, of Madison. Funeral arrangements are with the Angelus Funeral Home of San Antonio.