Bill Young, architect of Respiratory Care at AC, named Professor Emeritus

Bill Young, who helped establish the Respiratory Care Program at Amarillo College, where his teaching career spanned 36 years (1972-2008), has been named Professor Emeritus.

The AC Faculty Senate will sponsor a reception in his honor from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, June 2 in the 2nd Floor Gallery at the Amarillo Museum of Art on the Washington Street Campus.

“I was shocked when I found out I’d been named Professor Emeritus, and I am truly humbled,” Young said. “It was such a nice surprise, a much appreciated one. I spent 36 wonderful years at AC, and I always looked forward to going to work.”

It was late in the 1960s when Amarillo’s first respiratory therapist, Gary Gerard, and its second, which happened be Young, who was a friend and colleague of Gerard’s at High Plains Baptist Hospital, agreed to collaborate on the development of a respiratory program at AC. That way the region could begin producing its own therapists; Young and Gerard, after all, had had to learn their profession at universities in Oklahoma and New Mexico, respectively.

“We called it Inhalation Therapy back then,” said Young, who was named the fledgling program’s first director, a job he held throughout his 36-year tenure at AC. “We delivered our first class in 1972 and had 15 students, about a dozen of whom comprised our first graduating class in 1974.”

One of those inaugural graduates, Ron Isom, is expected to say a few words at Young’s Emeritus reception, which will be conducted just eight months after a celebration of the program’s 50th anniversary. It’s a program, by the way, that since its inception has produced almost 500 graduates.

During his impactful career, Young served on AC committees for Academic Affairs, Grants, Reaccreditation and more. Additionally, he visited numerous college campuses in many states to help establish standards for state licensure and registry credentials as a member of the national Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Education. All the while, Young worked a couple of weekly hospital shifts to remain abreast of the latest techniques and technologies, ensuring his ability to keep his students at the forefront of the latest respiratory know-how.

In 2004, Young and his wife Susan established a scholarship for second-year respiratory care students.

Young retired in 2008 but has remained active, both in the College the community. Among other things, he spent 11 years as president of the AC Retirees group, and just recently he completed a six-year stint as mayor of Timbercreek Canyon.

Naturally, Young made an appearance and shared some history at the Respiratory Care Program’s 50th anniversary reception last October on the West Campus.

“We had so many wonderful graduates over the years,” Young said, “several of whom went on to become doctors, dentists, anesthesiologists, and even hospital administrators. I was always so humbled to be part of a program that served as a stepping stone to so many wonderful and successful careers.”