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Charles Youngerman Supports UT Martin College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Charles Youngerman

UT Martin alum Charles Youngerman, pictured with his late wife, W. Kate Youngerman (UTM '57, UTK '59)

By Chandra Harris-McCray

Exposure to college came at an early age for Charles Youngerman.

As an elementary school student growing up on a farm in Lexington, Tenn., he attended 4-H programs at the University of Tennessee Martin. The campus was seen as a connected and necessary part of his educational journey even before he became a freshman in 1955.

"I was able to experience college and the Martin campus before I ever became a student," he says. "It was never a question of whether or not I was going to college. My mother was a schoolteacher, so I always knew the importance of education.

"Not only was attending college a reachable goal, but Martin was a place I could go and not get lost in the crowd," says Charles, who recalls UT Martin's student enrollment was very similar to his high school at the time.

Reflecting, Charles said "It probably cost about $2,000 out-of-pocket for me to get a college education. I worked on campus and the farm and made no more than 65 cents an hour." Those days were priceless for Charles, who was also a football player under the coaching leadership of Bob Carroll, and vice president of the student body among many other extracurricular activities.

His greatest moment in college was meeting his late wife, W. Kate Youngerman, who received her educational certificate from UT Martin and later graduated from UT Knoxville with an education degree. 

UT Martin "felt like home, it still does," says Charles, who lives in Selmer, Tenn., near his son and grandchildren.

Upon graduation in 1959 from the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, Charles began his career in the electrical industry and later became an investor and owner of a manufactured home business. Charles retired after a 38-year career in modular home management and retail sales.

"UT Martin has had a great bearing on my career, my outlook on life, and the person I have become," he says.

"I have taken and learned invaluable lessons from a great institution," he says. "It was time to give back."

Through a charitable gift annuity, Charles is supporting his first passion— agriculture— in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at his alma mater. "This was a way for me to make a commitment and do something for the university, which has done so much for me, and at the same time receive additional cash flow for the rest of my life," Charles says.

"I will never forget the great people at UT Martin who have made such a profound impact on my life."

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