The Jackson School of Geosciences

Keith Young (1918-2004)

Dr. Young was born near Buffalo, Wyoming, at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. His family was in the ranching business and Keith spent much of his youth in the outdoors of northern Wyoming. He was the first member of his family to attend college when he enrolled in the University of Wyoming, where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

During WW II, Keith served in the Army in Europe, rising to the rank of Captain. After the war, Keith attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received his PhD. At Madison, Keith met and married Ann Smedal on June 4, 1949. Keith and Ann had three sons.

Keith joined the faculty of The University of Texas in the fall of 1949 and retired in 1988 as Professor Emeritus after 40 years of service to UT-Austin. Among the courses he taught, including introductory courses, were stratigraphy and field geology. He introduced Environmental Geology to the curriculum at UT-Austin, one of the first such courses taught in the USA and for which he wrote a widely used textbook. He guided 36 students to master’s degrees and 16 to PhD degrees.

Keith was one of the world’s foremost experts on the Cretaceous stratigraphy and paleontology of Texas and northern Mexico and had unique expertise on ammonites. He had numerous publications on these topics, and continued active in research even after his retirement. He was also the most knowledgeable person on the geology of the Austin area.