March 17, 2015

Giving Never Grows Old

Frances Young '36

On March 17, 2015, Frances Young '36, turned 100 years old. To mark the occasion, there was a celebration at a restaurant in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, with family and friends, treats, cake and a photo in the Sunday paper. And of course, in a nod to St. Patrick’s Day, “there is the wearing of the green,” says Frances.

The newly-minted centenarian jokes about reaching such a significant milestone. “Yes, I’m sticking around as long as possible,” she says with a laugh. Frances had already reached another milestone and it was also cause for celebration – Frances has the distinction of being the oldest consistent Bloomsburg University Foundation donor. 

“I didn’t know about that,” says Frances. “Isn’t that nice?” Frances, who with her late husband Bernard Young ’36, established their named scholarship in 1990, and has been supporting it annually for 25 years. Since it was established, 19 deserving students have benefited from the scholarship with more than $24,000 distributed. 

“Earning the Bernard and Frances Young Scholarship meant everything to me and motivated me to continue my educational path at Bloomsburg University,” says Erin Nosek ’15. “As a future teacher, this scholarship meant so much more than just money. It meant that someone believed in me, supported me and wanted me to succeed and that was an incredible feeling.” 

Growing up in Bloomsburg, Frances says her family didn’t have much money. “But it was a different time,” Frances says. “Nobody did.” Although neither of her parents had attended college, they encouraged her to pursue a degree in teaching. It was at Bloomsburg that Frances and Bernie, who was from Berwick, met. Naturally, she says the meeting is one of the best memories of her BU student experience. 

“I grew up on First Street, which was of course very close to the college. Bernie and I met in our junior year,” says Frances. “We went to dances, and picnics. All the things young people did back then.” The couple began their teaching careers after graduation and married four years later, in 1940. 

“I taught high school in Turbotville for four years,” says Frances. Bernie taught nearby, earned a master’s degree and then got a job at a school district in New Jersey. After their son Jeffrey was born, they moved to Illinois where Bernie earned his doctorate and the couple had a daughter, Suzanne. 

Their last move took the Young family to the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, where Bernie worked as Dean of the College of Education and Frances worked in the college library until her retirement in 1980.

In 1990, Bernie and Frances celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking a trip with their children to Hawaii. That same year, to commemorate the place where their life together began, they established the Bernard and Frances Young Scholarship for education majors. 

“It was a nice part of our life,” says Frances. “We met there, we were in the same class together.” 

Recipients have gotten more out of the scholarship than just help with the financial burden of college. “The scholarship provided by Frances Young not only gave me financial help in attending college, but it gave me a sense of motivation,” says James Quinn’15. “The scholarship made me feel like my strides were noticed by someone and I needed to make sure that I don’t let them down.”

After Bernie passed away in 1993, Frances continued to support the scholarship they established. “I’m passionate about Bloomsburg for so many different reasons. That’s why we started giving and why I continue to give. It was a different world when we were there. We didn’t have a lot to start with, but Bloomsburg allowed us to better ourselves. That’s what college does for a person.”

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