After more than 30 years of dedicated service and leadership, Houghton College bestowed the honorary title of equestrian studies program director emeritus on Jo-Anne Young. The title was conferred on October 7 by Dr. Jack Connell, provost and dean of the faculty, during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Houghton College Equestrian Center’s new indoor arena.
In addition to the construction of a 36,400-square-foot arena, made possible by an anonymous $2.4 million lead gift, Houghton College announced a comprehensive $3.5 million campaign effort to expand and upgrade existing facilities, as well as an endowment to provide ongoing operational funding. To be completed prior to the 2018-2019 academic year, this investment will enable continued growth of Houghton’s nationally recognized equestrian program and will position Houghton to be a driving economic force locally and regionally.
“We simply are not standing here today without the leadership and vision and diligence and sacrifice of Jo-Anne Young,” said Connell. “Today as we look to the future of Houghton College’s equestrian program, we also acknowledge the one person who is most responsible for bringing us to this moment.”
In August 1986, Young took ownership of equestrian studies at Houghton – a program comprised of two classes, a few horses, a single riding ring, and some worn tack equipment. Over the years, she has generously poured into the equestrian program, investing countless hours and resources as she developed a curriculum known for academic excellence, professionalism, and experiential learning.
Thanks to Young’s leadership and vision, the equestrian program at Houghton College now boasts four faculty members, 25 lesson horses, and an academic curriculum of 20 different classes leading to two major tracks and two minors. Students from as far as California, Texas, and Washington come to Houghton to pursue equine studies and train under Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) certified professors and Fédération Équestre Internationale level clinicians. The Houghton College Equestrian Center currently hosts public events such as classes, competitions, United States Equestrian Federation and CHA clinics, and a sold-out, multi-week equestrian summer camp.
In 2016 Young was honored with the New York State Horsemanship Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, she has served on equine business advisory councils and boards of multiple equine associations, and has even written depositions as an expert witness in court cases related to the equestrian industry. Young is a CHA master instructor, site visitor trainer, and clinic instructor, donating her time to provide clinics for 4-H club leaders.
To learn more about the campaign for the Houghton College Equestrian Center, visit www.houghton-impact.com/equestrian.