University of Pittsburgh

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Pitt Chat

robertyoung1A conversation with Robert Young (EDUC ’09G), the alumni council coordinator in Pitt’s Office of Alumni Relations. He plans events and coordinates activities for multiple alumni councils. Currently, he’s assisting Pitt’s African American Alumni Council with aspects of its $3 million scholarship campaign.

Interview by Michelle K. Massie

I’ve been passionate . . . about jazz my entire life. When I was younger, I played both alto and tenor saxophone in my elementary school jazz band. Throughout the years, I have had posters of jazz musicians on my walls and even named our family cat Satchmo, after Louis Armstrong. Anytime you walk into my office, you’ll probably hear jazz being played.

What I cherish the most . . . are the trips to Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, and Costa Rica that I shared with my mother, Caroll Mills Young, a university professor. I often joined her as she presented at conferences and conducted research in her field of Afro-Uruguayan literature. She organized many study-abroad trips, and we climbed the same pyramids, year after year, with a different group of students. She passed away from pancreatic cancer three years ago; I’ll always treasure the memories of our travels together.

Something I’ll always remember . . . I had the chance to play music with the Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis when he visited the region for a concert. When I was an undergraduate, he came to our jazz band rehearsal and played with us for a while. Great experience!

My favorite Pitt experience . . . was my higher ed administration graduate program internship, where I began learning from and interacting with many great professionals throughout the University. Also, working with Pitt students and local high school students, I saw firsthand how much of an impact you can have on the lives and future of youths.

My personality type is . . . Generally, people describe me as calm, quiet, collected—like smooth jazz. It fits my personality, the way I carry myself, and the energy I give off.

One special memento from Pitt is . . . There isn’t just one. It’s all of the great friends I was able to make here. Not only are some of them my mentors, but I’ve also had the fortunate opportunity to become colleagues with many of them through my work.