What Makes a Parent Give?


Spotlight on Mark & Kaye Youngren

            Giving back to The Citadel has been important to Mark and Kaye Youngren since their son, Tyler, first enrolled in 2004. Having no previous experience with The Citadel, the Youngrens felt as though they did not have a good understanding of what knob year entailed and wanted to become more involved. Before Tyler arrived, they were both trying to soak up as much information about The Citadel as possible, as many parents do before their children report as cadet recruits. Once the academic year began, Tyler would bring home friends from The Citadel, and Mark and Kaye could immediately tell that these were not typical college students. They were the nicest, most respectful young people Mark and Kaye had ever met. The Youngrens quickly realized The Citadel had polished them to be the upstanding young adults they were. They were impressed not only with the social etiquette of cadets, but also with the loyalty cadets have for one another. 

The idea of The Citadel and the leadership principles that permeate Citadel life resonated with the Youngrens, and they soon felt compelled to give back. During Tyler’s freshman year, Mark and Kaye became involved with the Citadel Family Association, which provides information and support to families of current cadets. The Youngrens were soon sitting on the board of the Citadel Family Association and felt connected to campus life by being surrounded by other families who also wanted to give back to the college and be involved. Mark and Kaye served on the Citadel Family Association board for four years and enjoyed how it brought together families from all over the country, not just within South Carolina. Living in Oregon and so far from The Citadel campus, the Youngrens loved working with parents and felt privileged to offer their support to incoming parents.

Not having an alma mater of their own, the Youngrens chose to take on The Citadel as their own school since their son was a cadet. They wanted to give more back to The Citadel, so they became donors to The Citadel Foundation. Realizing tuition does not cover the full costs of educating a cadet or running the college, the Youngrens have taken on a "pay it forward" attitude toward the parents and cadets of the future. Mark and Kaye support The Citadel Foundation because they believe in the college's mission to educate and prepare leaders of honor and integrity. They were touched by the religious services on campus and wanted to be sure those services benefited from their gifts to The Citadel Foundation. The product that The Citadel produces is “mind boggling” to Mark, who has never met a cadet or an alumnus who is not polished and polite. Mark and Kaye see that the college is bigger than the individual who comes through Lesesne Gate. They would not hesitate to hire a Citadel alum for their own business because they know that each graduate has chosen and successfully navigated a path that challenged them.

The Citadel Foundation is grateful to Mark and Kaye Youngren for their support of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets!