Donation kick-starts conversation about mental health

Ralph and Gay Young on a recent visit to Student Health and Counselling Services

Ralph and Gay Young on a recent visit to Student Health and Counselling Services

Ralph Young is the Chancellor of the University of Alberta. But as a University of Saskatchewan alumnus, he isn’t shy about praising the U of S. “The U of S is Saskatchewan’s university,” says Young. “It has a great reputation among the provinces and it’s where so many of us got our start.” Throughout his 42-year career in the real estate development business in Edmonton, Young says he has come to recognize a “certain quality” in people from Saskatchewan. “There’s a work ethic, a down-to-earth style that is very gratifying to an employer,” he says. “It’s a great place to live and be from.”

Raised in Saskatoon, Young graduated from the U of S in 1967 with a civil engineering degree and spent several years in Manitoba working on bridge construction projects. He and his wife Gay then moved to Edmonton, where he earned his MBA from the U of A and she worked as an elementary school teacher. Joining the real estate development company Melcor in 1971, he served as CEO there from 2000 until his retirement this year, when he was named Chancellor of the U of A.

The Youngs have been significantly involved in many Alberta community organizations over the years, and have made several gifts to the U of A to assist western Canadian history projects—Young has a great personal interest in this area, and they were instrumental in helping bring back a valuable collection of diaries and artefacts belonging to famed RCMP officer Sam Steele from England to Canada. But Young says that they also wanted to do something for the U of S.

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