As a young child growing up in Alexandria, Va., Earl Young ’59 would often tug on his brother Ted’s arm as he dragged him around the neighborhood. The two boys had lost their mother when Young was only 6, and with his father working long hours in the catering business, the neighbors stepped in to look out for Earl and Ted.
“My brother and I were raised by the neighborhood,” Young says. “People would say ‘Why are you always tugging on Ted?’” It was then that Young earned the nickname “Tuggy.” Even though he tried, he couldn’t shake the name after coming to the College. It just so happened that one of his close friends from home, Tom Eley ’57, also attended William and Mary, and so Young’s childhood nickname followed him — adopted by his extended family at the College.
- Watch the tribute video created for Earl “Tuggy” Young ’59 below
“The College is family in so many ways — it’s an experience that lasts a lifetime,” says Young, who has been an active member of the William and Mary community since his student days. He has served as vice president and secretary of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and currently has served over 20 years on the Athletic Education Fund board. He’s also a member of the President’s Council and serves on the board of the Lower Peninsula Alumni Chapter. He is a member of the Order of the White Jacket and helps plan his Kappa Alpha Order fraternity reunion every five years.
While at William and Mary, Young ran track for a year and worked to pay for college. “When I came to Williamsburg I didn’t have much money,” Young says. “To pay for the first semester’s tuition, I took a life insurance policy and cashed it in. I also worked bussing tables at various locations on campus and at the King’s Arms Tavern, as well as a part-time land surveyor for the city of Williamsburg.”
One particular event at the College he still remembers fondly — a Sadie Hawkins dance over 52 years ago. It was the day he went on his first date with Virginia “Ginny” Smith Young ’59, M.Ed. ’73, who became his wife two weeks after graduation in 1959. “Accepting that dance invitation was the best decision I ever made,” he says.
After graduating with an economics degree, he worked in the credit division for the Noland Company. Then in 1963, Young joined Newport News Shipbuilding. “I was fortunate enough to move around in the organization,” he says. “I started out as manager and worked up to director of finance. I spent my last 10 years with the shipyard as manager of cost engineering.”
Since his retirement in 1999, Young has spent many hours working with the Bacon Street Substance Abuse Center board in Williamsburg and the Children’s Home Society of Virginia in Richmond, Va., where the Youngs adopted their daughter, Anne Hayden Young ’09, when she was 6 weeks old. They also have a son, Stephen, and a granddaughter, Ashley. Young also has devoted many hours to his church, including managing their construction projects. Young says he volunteers because he enjoys it and it is personally rewarding.
“When I retired I didn’t expect to be this busy,” he says. “My wife has told me she saw more of me when I worked.”
He learned a lot about what it meant to help others at the College. One year when his father was critically ill, he went to the hospital and discovered that his fraternity brothers had donated their own blood to replace that which his father had to use.
“In the fraternity I joined, the word ‘brother’ was not just a saying,” says Young. “Once I came here, it was like a family. I don’t know how many people have a lifetime of friends. That sense of brotherhood and giving has remained with me throughout my life.”
In April 2009, Young co-chaired his 50th Reunion and was selected to represent his class on the Olde Guarde Council. “The 50th was an exciting experience,” he says. “The entire weekend was filled with emotional highs because it brought back so many wonderful memories.
“This award is totally unexpected,” he says about receiving the Medallion. “I feel humbled by it … so many people are more deserving and I am proud to be in such company as the other recipients. I have a tremendous and profound love for this College. The alliance I have with it will be part of my legacy.”
Photo by Mark Mitchell
2010 Alumni Medallions
Waverly M. Cole ’50 | W. Samuel Sadler ’64, M.Ed. ’71
Nicholas St. George ’60, J.D. ’65 | Earl L. Young ’59