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A Lifetime of Commitment is Recognized

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Dr. Jackie Young recently honored with the 2016 University of Hawaii Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Jackie Young

Alumnus | Doctoral

Dr. Jackie Young has followed the Union Institute & University mission to engage, enlighten, and empower in a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility through championing civil liberties. Her commitment to transform lives and communities was recognized with the first Union Institute & University Presidents Award in 1995. She credits Union for much of her professional success, saying “Union made all the difference.” 

Recently, she was honored by her first alma mater, the University of Hawaii, with the 2016 University of Hawaii Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes outstanding alumni who have used their education to excel professionally, provide inspirational leadership to others, and provide service for the benefit of University of Hawaii and community.

Dr. Young’s remarkable career includes serving as an appointed member of the Hawaii State Judicial Selection Commission, and the Hawaii State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and as a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Campaign. On the national level, she is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

She implemented P.L. 94-142 Education for All Children Act, requiring the deinstitutionalization of children with disabilities for the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE). In 1985, she became the DOE sex equity and Title IX administrator. She also served as adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University for 10 years. 

Dr. Young has worked through the political process to make a difference, serving as the chair of the Hawaii Women’s Political Caucus and vice president of the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1990 she was elected to the State House of Representatives and then elected in 1992 as vice speaker, the first woman to hold that position. She championed issues related to Native Hawaiians, the environment and crimes against women. In 1994, Young was appointed as the state’s affirmative action officer. While undergoing breast cancer treatment and speaking publicly about her experience in 1998, she managed the nation’s first marriage equality campaign, Protect Our Constitution, in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign. She later served as the UH sex equity coordinator. Young became an executive with the American Cancer Society Hawai‘i Pacific in 1999 and retired in 2013 as its chief staff officer. She is a recent kidney cancer survivor.

In addition to her 1989 Ph.D. in Women’s Studies and Communication from Union Institute & University, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Hawaii and a Master’s in Speech and Special Education from Old Dominion University.

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