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Lee Young, professor who founded the magazine sequence at the J-School, has died

Friday, August 31, 2018

Lee Young, who served as associate dean, acting dean and head of the advertising sequence at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, died Aug. 30.

Young founded the magazine sequence at the school in the 1960s and turned a single, three-hour magazine class into a nationally recognized magazine program.

“Lee helped build the foundation of the J-School and set it on the path of being one of the top journalism programs in the country,” said Dean Ann M. Brill.

Young received a journalism degree from Syracuse University after serving in the Navy in World War II. He worked at several advertising firms in New York and Kansas City and was a co-owner and general manager of a veterinary medicine magazine. At age 38, he enrolled in the J-School’s graduate program and began teaching part time at KU. In 1964 when Young joined the J-School, there were a dozen faculty members and 116 undergraduate students. By 1969, he was teaching full-time and serving the first of two stints as acting dean. During his career, he taught classes in every sequence and several graduate seminars.

Young’s magazine class began the school’s Jayhawk Journalist publication. As the magazine’s advisor, Young taught the students with individualized exercises and collaborative lessons that were engaging and fun. Faculty and students enjoyed his sense of humor and his commitment to teaching and advising students.

Susanne Shaw, professor emerita at KU who retired in July, worked with Young for more than 15 years in the J-School.

“Lee Young was an outstanding teacher in the School of Journalism and a great mentor for students and younger faculty members. He served the school in many ways, including as the associate dean and interim dean of the school.”

In 1985, Young was named the J-School’s first William Allen White Professor of Journalism. He also was a finalist eight times for the Senior Class H.O.P.E.  (Honor for Outstanding Progressive Educator) Award.

Before his retirement in December 1989, Young had served in many roles at the school, notably as associate dean, acting dean and head of the advertising sequence.

In 2015, Diane Gray Quinn, a former student of Young’s, established a fund to endow the Lee F. Young Professorship in Journalism at the school.

Quinn, a 1971 graduate, said Young was “a great man” who led her to pursue a career in magazine/publication journalism.

“Lee was fun, intelligent, approachable and very caring about students,” Quinn said.  “He filled many roles in the journalism school, all done professionally and with good humor.  He and John Bremner were classic gentlemen and teachers, and I feel grateful to have been in the school when they were there.”

Services are pending.

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