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Remembering Dr. Jim Young

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Professor Emeritus Jim Young passed away on February 20, 2022 of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. He joined NC State University in 1966 and was a faculty member for over 30 years, while serving as department head from 2000 until his retirement in 2007. 

Dr. Jim Young addresses BAE graduates.
Dr. Jim Young addresses BAE graduates under Weaver Pavilion.

“He was a good teacher and somebody who loved this department,” says Philip Morris Professor Mike Boyette, who was a student, and later a colleague, of Young. “In some ways, he was my mentor because we’ve done similar things in our career, and both of us, like many faculty members, came off of the farm. We were all here for the same reason, and that was we wanted to be engineers so we could help people back home on the farm.”

Young was born on March 19, 1941 on his family farm in Christian County, Kentucky. He would go on to enroll at the University of Kentucky (UK) where he earned a bachelor’s in agricultural engineering in 1962 and a master’s in agricultural engineering in 1964. During his studies at UK, he was an active member of FarmHouse Fraternity and the student branch of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE). He received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study at Oklahoma State University where he earned a Ph.D. in agricultural engineering in 1966. 

He had an industrious career that spanned over 40 years at NC State. In addition to teaching, Young was an advisor to both undergraduate and graduate students, co-authored numerous publications and a textbook, and chaired the Departmental Curriculum Committee for 16 years. He was widely recognized and received numerous awards for his contributions including the Alpha Epsilon Outstanding Alumnus of UK Agricultural Engineering Department in 1985 and induction into the UK Engineering Hall of Distinction in 2005. 

Dr. Jim Young dressed as Santa.
Dr. Jim Young dressed as Santa sings carols with his assistant Anne and Dr. Bill Hunt.

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished University Professor and Extension Specialist Bill Hunt recalls fond memories working with Young early in his career. ”Every year we had a Christmas party, and one year we convinced Dr. Young to play Santa. I would guess that was late 1990’s,” Hunt says. “I would write take-off songs, like Weaver Bells, in lieu of Silver Bells, and we would sing them. Jim was a very, very good sport about all that.” 

For a decade, Young served on the Engineering Registration Committee, overseeing the writing of the PE exam, and served in all offices of the N.C. State Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, including President from 2003-2004. He was also an active member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) throughout his career, serving on dozens of committees and the Board of Directors. In 2005, he was awarded the Massey-Ferguson Gold Medal Award, one of the organization’s highest honors, for a career-long dedication to learning and teaching in Agricultural Engineering.

Details on his life and memorial are available online. Donations may be made in his honor to the Jimmy V. Foundation.