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Front Page » October 28, 2010 » Women in Business » Woman of the Year
Published 1,421 days ago

Woman of the Year


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

If there was one adage that Jan Young lives by in life it would be something that Mother Teresa said.

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come yet. We have only today. Let us begin."

In Youngs office, on the second story of the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center on the Utah State University College of Eastern Utah campus, there is a white board where odes to live by have been placed by any number of people over the years. Some on the white board are written in standard black, others are in all the colors of the rainbow. It is a testiment to all that have passed through and felt comfortable enough to leave their advice. That mother Teresa quote is on that board.

"I wrote that on there a long time ago," she said. "She was a very smart woman."

And so is Young herself, raised by educated parents, who understood hard work and where it will get you.

Born in Denver, Colo. where her father was going to graduate school, he soon graduated and moved the family to Syracuse, N.Y. where he went to work for Bristol Myers in pharmceutical research.

"That is where I got my work ethic from and from my grandparents who had a farm in Kansas," she said. "But my grandfather wasn't satisfied with being only a farmer, he also got on the bank board in town and helped guide it through the depression. Both my father and grandfather worked long, hard hours. That taught me a lot."

Young graduated from high school and had three colleges picked out: Colorado State, Boise State and the University of Wyoming. These choices were due to her dads influence.

"He thought I would be better off in a smaller university setting rather than a big one," she stated. So off to Wyoming she went where she majored in micro-biology, a far cry from the profession of being the registrar of a college that she would eventually hold.

After college she began working for Skaggs Drug stores, a chain that is now defunct, but well known to those over 50 years old that have lived in the intermountain area most of their lives.

"There was a long line of jobs I had all through high school and past graduation. I worked at one point in a department store and as a waitress," she reminisced. "I even packaged drugs at one point at Bristol Myers on the assembly line. I guess I should say phamaceuticals (she said as she laughed)."

The Skagg's job turned into a management position and she was transferred from Laramie, Wyo. to Salt Lake City and then finally to Price. There she worked for local residents Duane Taylor and Layne Miller.

Then she met Alan Young and with that came romance and a realization that she wanted to stay in Price. Skagg's was the kind of company that often transferred people and a retail business career, with its odd and long hours didn't seem the right kind of career to have with a family life. She then went to work for Zions Bank.

Having lived in big cities most of her life, her husband encouraged her to become involved in the community and she decided to start to do that by taking some classes at CEU. There she met instructor Chuck Olsen who led her into a record clerk's job at the college in 1981.

She worked hard and found she enjoyed the day to day exchanges with students and faculty. In 1985 the registrar's job came open and she was chosen for the position.

"At the time I was the only woman registrar in a public college in Utah," she stated. "But you know what, the other registrars in the state didn't have a problem with that. They were great and gave me a good deal of help."

The job has turned into an unlikely career for someone with a degree in micro-biology; but she has also progressed in her own education. She later earned a masters degree in instructional technology from Utah State.

"That degree has served me well throughout the years here," she said. "Probably the best thing about working here has been the fact it is a small school. I had the chance to learn all about the registrars office right from the beginning. At bigger schools I would never have had that opportunity."

Young is regarded highly by her associates both on campus and away. The nominations that came in for her to be chosen as Sun Advocate Woman of the Year were glowing, and reflected what she values in life.

"In her job she is continually professional in her caring interaction with students and her responsibilities to the school," wrote one nominee. "Beyond her job, Jan is a committed mother and fully involved in the life of her family. She is frequently involved in her church wher she serves in many capacities, including organist, choir director and treasurer."

And of course not everything is about work. Along with her civic mindedness, her family that includes Alan and children Derek and Courtney, brings a smile to her face when she talks about them.

After spending almost 30 years at CEU the changes that have come over the years have at times been monumental. But probably one of the biggest challenges happened this year; the merger between USU and CEU.

"The merger has happened already but now the nitty gritty work of putting this all together has begun," she stated. "We are going through all of our policies in admissions and working with USU on that. And although we are on the same system as they are (BANNER) we still do some things differently. But through all this the USU people have been extremely good to us, very amiable. We are just beefing up what we do."

Another challenge that Young listed is staying up with students and how their lives are changing though technology. But the interaction with those changing students is the thing she likes the best about the job too. As in any small college, staff and faculty members get close to those attending school and students often ask for advice from those they trust.

"They sometimes come in here and point out that others did this and others did that and I always ask them what their responsibility in the matter was," she said. And then she pointed to the sign hanging above the door of her office "Thou Shalt Not Whine."

"I just tell them that silence is sometimes the best answer," she said pointing to another of the inscriptions on her white board.

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