Opportunity Defined

Young wrote about their decision to fund a scholarship. These are his words:

"Back in the 1980s, my wife Ginger and I were full-time teachers at Central Missouri. Not too wisely, we took on the additional commitment of running a Nautilus fitness center in downtown Warrensburg. After six years of operating the fitness center, Ginger decided to pursue her doctorate at the University of Illinois-Chicago, so we closed the business in the summer of 1987.

"Two years later, in August, Ginger and I were sitting in the living room of my parents' cottage, and we heard some disheartening news.


Ginger and Jim Young with their 2008 scholarship recipients, political science majors Adam Sommer and Nick Daniels.

"My father, Robert A. Young, was a very generous man. During his lifetime, he served on the boards of several educational, charitable and civic organizations, such as the boards of his church, the YMCA, the state university's athletic program and the local museum. He also spent considerable time on a group charged with finding business for his community and on another committee raising money for the Rotary Reserve, a long-range project of that civic group.

"As a long-time trustee of one of those boards, virtually from the founding of the organization to that month in August of 1989, Dad had recently completed leading a successful long-term fundraising effort. Soon afterward, the board was presented with a proposal to purchase for the institution a building formerly owned by a savings and loan institution.

"My father opposed the proposal, not only because he thought it was unwise to embark on such a course of action in the face of just having completed a fundraising drive for other purposes, but also on the grounds that the building would be difficult and expensive to heat and cool. Dad was an expert on that subject having been in the retail fuel business for most of his adult career.

"My parents then informed Ginger and me that in the face of the opposition of my father and another director, the board had met without them and removed both of them from their membership! I guess that is one way to pass a controversial proposal. I rarely saw my father as disheartened as he was that day.

"Later, in the fall of 1987, I sold the building in downtown Warrensburg that had housed our fitness business for its six years of existence. With the check for the building in hand, I walked up the hill to the campus and endorsed the check over to the UCM Foundation for the endowment of a political science scholarship in the names of my parents. Ginger and I presented the proposal for the scholarship to my father that Christmas.


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