WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Vivian Young reportedly graduated with the class in 1943. Instead, he chose to enlist to fight for his country.
“I don’t know if my father himself would have sought the degree even if there were opportunities where he probably could have. I think that way he probably would have felt like maybe it was for bragging rights,” Vivian’s daughter Vanessa Young-Fields said.
He served as a special aeronautical engineer for the Army Air Corps, now the US Air Force, during World War II.
Although young never returned to school, he was known as a very intelligent man.
“My dad was a WWII veteran, he has a bronze star, multiple bronze stars, good conduct, he was a strong advocate for knowledge. He was a strong proponent of reading the newspaper and listening to the news. Have books on daily events. So I felt he was well educated,” Young-Fields said.
Young was very passionate about education and pushed his four children to graduate from Hirschi High.
Principal Doug Albus arranged to present his family with the degree he had missed.
“So it was so important because my dad had an honorary degree to give him, especially the school that he put all of us through,” Young-Fields said.
This is the first time ISD Wichita Falls has presented an honorary degree, but school board president Mike Rucker says he would like to see more.
“I think it’s very important to honor them even after they’ve passed away. I mean we should while they’re still here, but after they’re gone, to remind us of all the sacrifices they made to get us to where we are today,” Rucker said.
Young was a family man and community activist, so everyone agrees that this degree was well deserved.
Young died last March at the age of 97, but his family says his legacy is one to remember.
“I think his legacy is to be a strong, good man who loved God, loved his family and loved knowing that we were in a learning process every day. Every day he was learning,” Young-Fields said.
If you know of service members who might be eligible for an honorary degree, Rucker suggests contacting the superintendent’s office for more information.