At age 70, one Horned Frog is leaving the job where he has spent more than half of his life.
Dale Young, instructor in the College of Education and director of Student Teaching and Career Services, will pack up his office at the end of this semester.
But he’s not going far.
Young hopes to return to TCU part time to work with student teachers next fall.
And he can’t retire his purple either.
Having graduated with TCU’s class of 1966, the former Horned Frog cheerleader has not lost his purple fire. He wears purple everyday and said he will probably continue doing so until he dies.
When Sara Naumann, a senior early childhood education major, took a summer class with Young two years ago, her first impression of him was having the “most TCU spirit [she] had ever seen.” She said everything was purple—his shirt, shorts, shoes, belt and hat.
His office dons even more purple than his attire. Artifacts of all shapes, sizes and materials line his desk and walls. The items range from his framed TCU cheerleading sweater to a TCU bird feeder to a couple TCU footballs and basketballs signed by the athletes to bowl game tickets to yearbooks, even a purple rug and a TCU cheerleader Barbie doll.
In addition to a legacy of TCU spirit, Young leaves a mark with his personality.
Naumann described Young’s work with international students. He coordinates the process of international students coming to Texas for student teaching, and he also places TCU students into student teaching positions here and abroad, she said.
“He’s just like a friend to them,” Naumann said. “He’ll come meet them at the airport, he’ll show them around Fort Worth, he takes them cowboy boot shopping. He goes above and beyond the typical professor role.”
Beyond the student-professor relationship, Young has kept in touch with Marnie Choate, TCU class of 1993. Young coordinated Choate’s student teaching and, after graduation, watched her career begin, followed by the birth of her two sons. Young also persuaded her to come back to TCU for her doctorate.
Choate described Young as having the “x factor,” something that can’t be taught and can’t be prescribed.
“I love Dale’s spirit,” she said. “He has the kindness, he has the gentleness, he has the motivation to understand the difficulties teachers face in a public educational classroom. When I was student teaching, Dale made me feel that I could take on any classroom and any student. That is an incredible gift to give a young teacher.”
Young has been working in the College of Education since 1978, when he left Fort Worth’s Wedgewood Middle School after teaching social studies for 10 years.
TCU offered him the job after he received three awards for creative teaching at Wedgewood. Young accepted the offer, returning to his alma mater for what would become 35 years as an employee.
While working for TCU, Young has been president of the Texas State Teachers Association, has served as adviser for TCU’s chapter of the international teaching honor society Kappa Delta Pi, and three times has been named favorite professor in the College of Education by the TCU Chapter of the Texas Student Education Association.
During retirement, Young plans to clean his house, volunteer and sort through the two storage rooms of materials he kept from teaching eighth grade. He also hopes to stay involved with TCU wherever he can, hopefully coordinating a section of student teachers.
“There’s such positivity around here and lots of vibrancy,” Young said. “I think that’s why I try and still feel young—because of being around students all the time.”