Worth J. “Rusty” Young
Dr. Worth J. “Rusty” Young was both a student and a professor at Emory & Henry College. For 45 years he provided behind-the-scenes help to the Wasps’ football team by helping with fund-raising, demonstrating investment in athletes as students, and showing avid devotion to the team as a fan. In recognition of his outstanding devotion, he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1973 and was the Twelfth Man Award recipient from the football team in 1984.
Young graduated from Emory & Henry in 1927 and went on to earn a master’s degree at Duke University before completing advanced study at Harvard. He returned to Emory & Henry in 1939 as a professor, where he initiated multiple science programs to accommodate the growing breadth of scientific knowledge in the 1940s.
After returning to his alma mater, Young was a huge supporter of the athletic programs. He served on the Faculty Committee on Athletics and during World War II, when enrollment dropped drastically and the football program was in danger of ending, he played a significant role in securing and implementing the Navy V-12 Program to bolster student numbers and keep Wasp athletics alive. In 1948, he joined other Wasp fans in establishing the I-HEY Club, which stands for I Help Every Year. This club continues to help in funding Emory & Henry athletic programs.
In 1958, Young was chosen as one of 20 college professors to participate in a national astronomical research program through Harvard and University of California. He was one of the first to discover and interpret chemical paleomagnetism. He also played a role in training professional scientific personnel for the research necessary for a lunar landing. Young was named by the U.S. Office of Education as one of the college teachers who has most influenced creativity in his students. Among his former students are over 20 NASA scientists and researchers and Dr. Charles Melton, who was one of the nation’s leading physicists and dedicated many of his books in Young’s honor.
Upon his retirement from the faculty at Emory & Henry in 1972, Young was given the title professor emeritus and awarded an honorary doctor of science degree. In 1985 he was given the title Alumnus of the Year by the Alumni Association of Emory & Henry College and he was also a recipient of the college’s Distinguished Service Medal.
Dr. Worth Young passed away on December 18, 1991 at age 89.