William C. Young
Centre College President (1888-1896)
William C. Young was born in Danville, Kentucky, on April 23, 1842, the son of Centre President John C. Young, and graduated from Centre College in 1859. He spent the next two years teaching at the classical school in Holly Springs, Mississippi, but returned to Danville, and in 1865 graduated from the Danville Theological Seminary. He served pastorates in Covington, Kentucky, Madison, Indiana, and Chicago before returning to Louisville to accept the position of pastor of the new Central Church. Following the resignation of President Ormand Beatty in 1888, the Board of Trustees of Centre College elected Young as their new president on June 19, 1888. Young declined at first, but accepted the second offer. Young began his work in October 1888, but wasn't inaugurated until October 9, 1889.
During Young's administration, three new professorships were added; the student body increased to its largest size since before the Civil War; the college's endowment substantially enlarged to $265,000; Centre's Law School was established with J. Proctor Knott as its head; the first Boyle-Humphrey Gymnasium built in 1891; and Breckinridge Hall completed in 1892.
On September 16, 1896, after addressing the students, and preparing to hear their recitations along with members of the Synod, Young was struck and died of a heart attack. A gifted professor and compassionate leader, the students were extremely fond of Young, and his death resulted in profound grief among them. Young was buried in Danville's Bellevue Cemetery along with his father.
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