by Laura Gallardo ’03
This year has been a milestone year for Randy ’66 and Sharon Uzzel ’66 Young. In addition to celebrating their golden anniversary and the wedding of their daughter Gillian to Michael Smith ’11, Randy and Sharon served as two of the five co-chairs of their 50th class reunion in May.
“We wanted our classmates to reconnect, while creating an entertaining and fun experience,” explains Randy. Since the festivities, the Youngs have received numerous emails from classmates expressing appreciation for their efforts.
The two first met in April 1965 at Dr. Robert Morlan’s office, where they were asking the beloved government professor to sign registration waivers for a class that was already full. Sharon’s Alpha Sigma Pi sisters later encouraged her to invite Randy to a party, and they were engaged later that summer. Other fond memories included Gay ’90s for pizza, as well as being involved with ASUR, Young Democrats and Debate.
After graduation, Randy began a successful career in the public sector. “The willingness to communicate, compromise and collaborate on issues directly impacted my ability to help local governments across the country, and I attribute that to the beginning I received at Redlands.” With a lifelong commitment to mathematics education, Sharon feels Redlands provided a “firm basis of what a liberal arts education could be so that I could take those ideas and implement them as a professor.”
Their Bulldog legacy continued when their daughter Courtney ’13 took a campus tour and said, “This feels like home.” Courtney’s passion for sustainability led to the refounding of Kappa Pi Zeta, a sorority with an environmental mission for which she served as founding president. The Youngs surprised Courtney at her graduation breakfast, announcing that they had established an annual Zeta award in her honor. “It was really special to be back in the Casa Loma Room with her and her sisters, in the same place where we had been with our class years before.”
Both Randy and Sharon were able to attend the University through a combination of scholarships and loans. “We didn’t have the resources to go it alone,” says Sharon. “A quality education has a significant cost, and many students need help.” To commemorate their 50th class reunion year, the Youngs decided to make the University a beneficiary of an IRA, establishing the Sharon and Randall Young Endowed Scholarship. This award will support students studying political science or mathematics who demonstrate leadership and campus involvement. “We want to enable students to have the types of transformational experiences, both academic and personal, that we were able to have,” says Randy.
The Youngs see a distinction between their endowment commitment and their past giving. “We have worked on class reunion fundraising, much of which goes to current use. It’s nice to know after we’re gone, students will benefit… we’re paying it forward to ensure that future classes also can make a difference.”