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William T. Young Tribute

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MCCONNELL. Mr. President, I rise today to honor the life of a prominent Kentuckian, successful businessman, and devoted philanthropist, William T. Young. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my condolences to his two children, William T. Young, Jr. and Lucy Young Hamilton, and to all of those who knew and loved him.

Mr. Young graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1939, receiving a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he went on to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II, returning home to Lexington as a major. In 1946 Mr. Young married Lucy Maddox, and later had two children.

After he married Lucy, Mr. Young decided to make his longtime entrepreneurial dreams a reality by starting Big Top Peanut Butter, which he sold in 1955 to Proctor and Gamble who later renamed it Jif. In 1958 he opened a moving and storage company, W.T. Young Storage Co., and started Lexington Cartage, a shipping operation. Mr. Young was also appointed to the board of Kentucky Fried Chicken at this time and to the Royal Crown Co. Board, which he became chairman of in 1966.

Mr. Young, a true Kentuckian, became a horseman in his later days turning a small parcel of land into Overbrook Farms. This 2,400-acre breeding operation trained Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes winners, as well as breeding the Nation's leading stallion, Storm Cat. However successful Young became, he never forgot his roots and his home of Lexington, giving back to the community a hundred times over.

Mr. Young's generosity long exceeds the list of his business achievements. He gave much to higher education in Kentucky, particularly to two institutions in Lexington-the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. His proudest donation was to UK for the building of a state-of-the-art library, which now bears his name. At Transylvania University, Young started the Thomas Jefferson Scholars, one of the Nation's first merit-based scholarships, which the University later renamed after him. Besides donating his money, Mr. Young also donated his time to the institutions. He served on the Council of Higher Education, Board of Curators at Transylvania, University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, and the UK Development Council.

He will forever be remembered through the many contributions he made to his community and through the many stories his friends and family tell of an ambitious gentleman whose humble heart never stopped giving. Charles L. Shearer, the president of Transylvania University, tells a story of Mr. Young declining a nomination for a fundraising award given by the university. Mr. Young explained, "If other people had my resources, they would do the same thing." UK Dean of Libraries Carol Diedrichs discussed how Mr. Young would walk through the library stopping to talk to the students, asking them how they were doing and how their studies were going. Former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown described Mr. Young as "closest to the perfect human being I've ever known."

William T. Young's generosity stretched far across the Nation and far into the hearts of all those who met him. I ask each of my colleagues to join me today in paying tribute to William T. Young, for all he has done. He will be missed.

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