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Medicine Across Generations

When Passion Creates a Legacy

When you have passion for your chosen profession, you have the potential to change the lives of those around you. For Paul A. Young, Ph.D., professor emeritus of anatomy at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, (A&S '47, Grad '53), his passion for teaching medical professionals shined through every facet of his life until his passing on June 24, 2023.

Picture of Paul A. Young and Paul H. Young
Professor emeritus Paul A. Young Ph.D., right, and his son Paul. H. Young, Ph.D.

Paul A. Young, Ph.D. began teaching at SLU in 1957 as the neuroscience course director and chaired the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology from 1969-2004. His teaching methods and dedication to medical education impacted the careers of colleagues, educated generations of SLU graduates, and inspired many members of his family to become physicians.

His son, Paul H. Young, M.D., (Med ‘75), shared his father’s immense dedication to his courses and love for his students.

“If you’re good at what you do, it's not an occupation — it's a lifestyle,” Paul H.Young said. “For my dad, that is what teaching was, and he was a teacher 24 hours a day. He loved the University, he loved his students, and he just loved to teach.”

It’s rare to be taught by a parent in medical school and even rarer to have that same parent teach one of the most complex medical courses — anatomy and neurobiology. For Paul H. Young, he knew he wanted to become a neurosurgeon as a child, and his father’s role as his teacher of the brain gave him a strong foundation as a surgeon and now, as a teacher himself.

“After retiring from neurosurgery, I teach junior high and high school students, teachers, counselors, and parents about the developing brain,” Paul  H. Young said. “I’ve taken my love of the brain and tried to share its incredible structure and potential with others.”

Through their passions for medicine and education, both father and son found ways to serve others — passing along their lives’ work to the next generation of medical professionals.

“Each of us needs to give back in some way because it helps the next generation do the same things we were able to do,” Paul H.Young. said. “Put your heart and soul into what you do every day, and then put your heart and soul into making sure it continues forever."

Give to the Future of Medicine with your Contribution to the Paul A. Young Endowed Medical Education Scholarship

Inspiring a Love for Medicine

In our lives, there are places that hold key family memories. For the Sly Family, Saint Louis University is where passions originated, research emerged and a lasting family legacy continues to flourish.

William Sly, M.D., professor emeritus, (Med ‘57), has been an integral member of the SLU School of Medicine community for over 70 years as a student, faculty member and world-renowned physician and scientist. And now, his granddaughter, Caroline Hughes, (Med ‘27), joins SLU’s newest class of medical students to become a physician herself.

Photo of Caroline Hughes being vested by her grandaughter and professor emirtus William Sly
Caroline Hughes (Med ’27) receives her white coat from her grandfather, William Sly, M.D., (Med ’57), professor emeritus of SLU School of Medicine.“My grandfather was the first example of a physician in my life,”

Sly’s passion for medicine and science fuels his work, but it is his family at home and his SLU family that inspire his deep love for medicine. His gratitude to the University is unbound — forming both his dedication to discovering treatment for mucopolysaccharidoses and teaching invaluable lessons to his students.

Now, he gets to witness his granddaughter take her first steps toward her career. Her path officially started with him placing her white coat on her shoulders this summer.

“I knew that I would have the opportunity to confer her white coat, but I did not realize how much of an impact it would make on me,” Sly said. “It was then that it dawned on me, Caroline was here and a part of the same University that I had a 70-year association with, and it was quite moving.”

As she tackles her first year of studies, Sly’s greatest hope is that his granddaughter will be the medical professional she wants to be and follow her own path in the years ahead.

“I want her to choose a specialty that is really exciting for her, where she thinks she can make a difference and be fulfilled in her career.”