Defiance College lectureship established in Dr. Jan Younger’s honor

April 13, 2017


Jan Younger. Photo courtesy of Scott Hall.DEFIANCE, Ohio - A Defiance College graduate has established an endowed lectureship honoring a longtime DC professor and forensics coach. The first lecture will be presented later this month.

The Reverend Gary A. Reed, a member of the Defiance College Class of 1975, has endowed the Jan J. Younger Colloquium to honor the educational contributions and scholarship of Dr. Younger, who chaired the Communications Department at DC and was the highly successful coach of its speech and debate teams from 1967 to 1988.

The inaugural presentation will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in Schomburg Auditorium on the Defiance College campus. David J. Staley, Ph.D., Director of The Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching at Ohio State University, will speak on “Becoming a Futurist.”

In his 21 years at Defiance College, Dr. Younger’s scholarly studies focused on rhetoric, humor, history, and the American presidency. He received the Dean’s Award of Teaching Excellence in 1975 and the Distinguished Lecture Award by the Ohio Academy of Lawyers in 1980.

Reed, who competed on the debate team, graduated with honors, and then earned a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He formerly served on the DC Board of Trustees.

“I decided, because I deeply loved my alma mater, to be philanthropic, to establish some type of endowment or colloquium or lectureship. It was important to me to recognize how he, Dr. Younger, contributed to the college as a scholar and as a humanitarian,” Reed explained.

“He had the ability to cultivate and encourage his students. Not every professor has that ability. He was able to take the most unlikely students and mold them into great speakers. I can’t say enough about how he fostered excellence in all his academic pursuits.”

The lectures will be built around the theme “Knowing through Research” and will explore a variety of research methods that help promote the betterment of the human condition.

The colloquium will bring in speakers chosen for their research, its relevance, and its impact. The dean of the college’s McMaster School for Advancing Humanity and director of the Honors Program, Mary Ann Studer, serves as the primary coordinator for the on-campus lectures.

Defiance College emphasizes learning based on the four pillars of its educational philosophy: to know, to understand, to lead, and to serve. “We want to pick up that mantle and plug into the ‘to understand.’ We want to bring research alive,” Dr. Younger explained. “Gary and I hope the lectures spark interest among students so they know how research contributes to knowledge. Research leads to facts, facts lead to knowledge.”

“My goals are to bring onto campus and into the community something beyond the normal,” Reed said. “Something timely. Something to stir up a passion or an interest among students, and also among community members who attend.”

The lectures will not only be aimed at students, but also for professionals and area residents. The lectures are scheduled on an annual basis at DC and will be free and open to the public.

The Jan J. Younger Colloquium endowment is still open and accepting gifts. Several contributions have been received in addition to Reed’s initial gift.

“Not only Dr. Younger, but other faculty and administration members had a profound impact on me and my life,” Reed said. “Those who have done so much deserve to be recognized.”

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is