Presidents of Reed

youtz image

Byron L. Youtz


Born on November 10, 1925, in Burbank, California
Died on January 23, 1992, in Olympia, Washington

Physicist Byron L. Youtz began teaching at Reed in 1956, where his academic career was shaped by his interest in developing the college’s science curriculum, and the “new physics.” While at Reed, Youtz served as executive assistant to President Sullivan for six months; he was appointed acting president when Sullivan resigned. Youtz remained in this position until the appointment of Victor G. Rosenblum in 1968.

Youtz described Reed as “an educators’ educational institution,” one that complemented his goals to create and support innovative science curricula. In addition to receiving grants that supported his own research, Youtz won funding from the National Science Foundation to host workshops on campus for secondary school science educators. Once a week, high school physics teachers from around the state convened at Reed for lectures and labs presented by faculty.

Youtz earned degrees from the California Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley, where he studied radiation. In 1953, he taught at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, where he served as chairman of the physics department.

After leaving Reed, Youtz helped to initiate science and educational programs at State University New York, Old Westbury, where he was vice president for two years, and at Evergreen State College, where he became a founding faculty member in 1970. Youtz continued his career at Evergreen as professor, provost, and member of the Evergreen State College Foundation Board of Governors. He retired from Evergreen in 1991.