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John Young, BS ’54: Pharmacist Gives Back

Photo of John Young, BS ’54.John Young, BS ’54 Pharmacy, has the Pacific Northwest in his blood. He was born in Oregon, stationed in Washington State during his U.S. Air Force duty, and moved to Idaho after completing his UCSF degree.

“I was working in Coeur d’Alene, making $350 a month, which wasn’t much even then,” Young says. “But when I found out that grocery clerks in Oakland made the same or more, I figured I’d better return to the Bay Area.”

In 1959 he landed a job at the Hayward PayLess drugstore and built a 44-year-long career that spanned everything from working in small town pharmacies and major drugstore chains to top executive positions in pharmacy operations and merchandising. In 1996 he received the Harold W. Pratt Award from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the industry’s highest honor for pharmacists.

He started his UC education at Berkeley, where he played football under legendary Coach Pappy Waldorf and met his late wife Marcia. Coming from a long line of pharmacists, including his grandfather, father, and uncle, Young transferred to the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

Retired since 1999, Young is close to his two children, his six grandchildren, and his sister. He spends part of the year in Montana and at his northern Idaho home fly-fishing in Priest Lake. A resident of San Leandro, he also maintains strong ties to his alma mater.

“I like to attend UCSF events such as Alumni Weekend and Founders Day,” Young says. He has made several annual gifts to the school in his lifetime, including one from his IRA in the form of an IRA charitable rollover. “The IRA rollover is a good option because it allows me to receive a tax benefit at the same time that I’m supporting the university.” 

“UCSF gave me my livelihood and helped me provide for my family,” Young says. “So, as they say, I want to give back.”


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