First impressions can have the most lasting effect with every event, every experience, and every introduction to a new life, new school, and new “family”, and be extraordinary.
Carolyn McClain Young
They say first impressions have the most lasting effect on us. Well, my first impression of Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University, impacted me for a lifetime. It was freshman year orientation week, and it was the most amazing week of my life. Every event, every experience, and every introduction to my new life, new school, and new “family” was extraordinary. By the end of the week, we had all bonded; we became brothers and sisters. Whether my classmates were from in the city or outside of the city, we came together as one and accepted each other into our new lives and this new adventure. That experience taught me a lot about sisterhood, caring for others, and accepting others as they are. It grounded me and set my footing on accepting people from all walks of life, a quality that has served me well in my work, personal and social life, and enabled me to become the woman I am today.
I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my life, and they all led me to Clark. There was Ernest Pharr, my homeroom teacher for five years beginning in the 8th grade. He was the yearbook and newspaper editor and used to bring his work to school to show me. My English teacher, David Stanley, was a Clark alum, as was Moses Norman, who always had me quoting great writers. My high school counselor, Eula Cohen, was also very influential on my decision to attend my illustrious alma mater. Coming full circle, it has been my passion and privilege to serve on the Board of Trustees for Clark Atlanta University for many years now.
I am fortunate to have met the love of my life. I married my husband, Andrew J. Young, in 1996 in Cape Town, South Africa. My wedding was officiated by Bishop Desmond Tutu, who spoke the ceremony in Xhosa, and Bishop McKinley Young, who spoke it in English. It was attended by family, friends and dignitaries from all over. In March of 2016 my husband and I will be traveling back to South Africa, along with a cohort of friends and associates, to celebrate our 20th Anniversary and renew our vows. Bishop Tutu will preside once again.
Attending Clark, becoming a teacher, and marrying my dear husband were the best decisions I have ever made. Because of these three choices, my life has been amazing.
Carolyn McClain Young is a life-long educator, civic leader, and the vice chair of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. She also serves as the executive director of “Andrew Young Presents,” the Foundation’s Emmy-winning nationally syndicated series of 20 documentaries highlighting Africa, the Civil Rights Movement and other social issues.
A dedicated fund-raiser and philanthropist, Young is a major force behind the success of the Foundation and other causes and organizations she cares deeply about supporting. She raised an endowment of more than $1.3 million for the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University; used her influence to raise and is the sponsor for the Carolyn Young Mentor Walk, held the last two years at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.
Previously, Young was an executive with the Atlanta-based GoodWorks International, LLC, a leading global advisory firm offering international market access and political risk analysis in key emerging markets within Africa and the Caribbean. In this position, she was co-owner for Protocol Contact for Foreign Dignitaries, and was responsible for planning logistics for guests and event planning for staff and corporate sponsors.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Elementary Education from Clark College in 1966 and a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from Georgia State University in 1971. She was instrumental in desegregating the faculty of the Atlanta Public Schools – East Lake Elementary School – as a first-year teacher.
During her teaching career, Young was recognized with several awards and honors including the 1976 Atlanta Area II Teacher of the Year, Georgia Teachers Incentive Award for Intermediate Grades, and the Southern Bell Black History Calendar as a “Teacher of Excellence.” She retired after 30 years of distinguished service with the Atlanta Public Schools.
Following her retirement, Young joined GoodWorks International, LLC with her husband, Ambassador Andrew Young, serving as Partner and Protocol Contact for Foreign Dignitaries where she played a major role planning and hosting social events, meetings, and private affairs.
Young has volunteered her time, talent and influence to a host of local, national and international civic and community service organizations holding leadership position. Some of the organizations she has served include G-Capp (founded by Jane Fonda); Steering Committee for the King Center’s King Week Activities; National Committee for the Arts; Finance Committee for the City of Atlanta Celebration of Older Citizens Month; Atlanta Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Buckhead Cascade Chapter of The Links, Inc.; Union Baptist Church; the Ebony Fashion Fair scholarship fundraiser; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women’s Board; the Clark Atlanta University Guild; and the Sophisticates, Atlanta Chapter. Her international work includes serving as co-sponsor of the Bethesda House (an orphanage in Soweto for children with AIDS).
She currently serves on the following boards: Clark Atlanta University Board of Trustees; United Negro College Fund; Andrew & Walter Young YMCA; Atlanta Area Technical College; WestCare; and the Board of Advisors for the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University. Previous board affiliations include the Governor’s Reform Commission for Education; Georgia Human Relations Commission; Board of the Georgia Council of Abused Children; Apex Museum; Fernbank Museum; Rabun Gap/Nacoochee School; Starlight Foundation and Literacy Action, Inc.
A full list of Young’s experience in civic, community and board service, as well as awards and honors, is as follows:
Co-Sponsor of the Bethesda House, which is an orphanage in Soweto for children living with AIDS – raised money for the children and the facility.
Raised an endowment of more than $1.3 million for the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University and served as Honorary Chair of a weekend of events honoring the school and Andrew Young.
Co-Chairman of the Patron Committee for G-Capp, which was founded by Jane Fonda to halt teen pregnancies.
Founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women Board, as well as the following positions:
Served as Chair of Enrichment for Children for 10 years,
Served as the key organizer of a Christmas party for 10,000 children of Atlanta for 10 years, and
Participated and volunteered at a dinner for 2000 Atlanta seniors for 10 years.
Member of Southern Regional Leadership Team of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Co-Chair for 10 years of the Founders Day Committee of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Co-Chair of 80th Celebration for the Southern Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Co-Chair for the Welcoming Committee for the National Convention for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. that was held in Atlanta, Georgia in July, 2002.
Member of the National committee for the Arts
Member of the International Taskforce and the Arts Committee for Buckhead Cascade Chapter of the Links
Member and 2005-2006 Co-Chair of 5th Annual Gala for the Buckhead Cascade Chapter of the Links.
Member of the Finance Committee for the City of Atlanta Celebration of Older Citizens Month.
Founding member, Co-Chair for 3 years, and Chairman for 3 years of the Clark Atlanta University Guild
Member of the National Arts and Letters Commission for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Co-Chair for ten years and a leading fundraiser for the Ebony Fashion Fair, which is an event that raises funds for scholarships sponsored by the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Founding member and Vice-President of the Sophisticates, Atlanta Chapter
Member of the Steering Committee for the King Center’s “Celebrate a Difference” King Week Activities from 1985-1989
Superintendent for 10 years of the Union Baptist Church Sunday School
Director for 10 years of the Union Baptist Vacation Bible School
Sunday school teacher for six years
Clark Atlanta University Board of Trustees
Atlanta Area Technical College
Board of Advisors – Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University
Board of WestCare
Governor’s Reform Commission for Education
Georgia Human Relations Commission
Board of the Georgia Council of Abused Children
The Apex Museum
The Fernbank Museum
Board of Directors for the Rabun Gap – Nacoochee School
Board of the Starlight Foundation
Literacy Action, Inc.
Recognized as the Atlanta Area II Teacher of the Year in 1976 and 1994
Received Southern Bell Black History Calendar Teacher of Excellence 1993
Received Georgia Teachers Incentive Award for Intermediate Grades in 1993
Honored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women as a Faithful Servant in 1993
Received first MASKED Award (Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams) in 1989
Recognized as an Outstanding United Negro College Fund Volunteer in 1989
In 2010 received the Lady Who Leads Award
2010 Honored at the Legacy Ladies Tea