Remembering Willie Young, Sr.

Willie Young, Sr. was a Buckeye legend, a trusted friend, advisor to many and an advocate for all Ohio State students. Having been with the university since 1990, Willie leaves a legacy that will never be forgotten.

Pay tribute to Willie's legacy by sharing your favorite memories, photos and nickname with us.

Share your memories


Bailey Cross
Nicknamed by Willie as: Quicken
I worked at OCCSS under Willie. I remember how excited he was when I told him I got an internship at Quicken Loans and from that point on he called me Quicken. I would often find myself in his office, which if you had ever been in it knew it was more museum than office. He and I would talk sports for as long as I could hide from my other managers. He knew I was obsessed with Lebron James and I would always ask him to let me buy his autographed Lebron jersey off of him and he would always sigh and tell me he couldn't do it.

Willie made a lasting impact on me as a student, employee and as a person. I couldn't be happier that the office is being named after him because he WAS the embodiment of OCCSS. I'll miss you, Willie. I'm glad your spirit lives on in OCCSS.
Molly Hegarty
Nicknamed by Willie as: Mother Molly
I have so many fond memories of Willie during the 12 years we worked together. He used to point to his hand and talk about his "Palm Pilot". His technology skills, or lack thereof, were a point of humor with us. But, he never needed tech. He preferred to pick up the phone and call you, or even better to meet you in person. He wanted to really connect with people. And, he did. He connected with everyone he met. I'm so grateful to have known him and been mentored with his optimism, experience, and generosity.

He was a legend.
Ellen Moore Griffin
Nicknamed by Willie as: Sister Hat
Willie and I met when we moved into the George Wells Knight House at 104 East 15th Ave in 1998 (Willie as director as OCSS and me as AD with Community Crime Patrol). We became instant friends, of course, as he was a friend to all. We have never lost touch, serving on many boards, committees, and task forces together. The nickname "Sister Hat" came after I gave my pastor, an African-American woman, a book entitled "Crowns", detailing in beautiful pictures and stories, the tradition of hat-wearing in the African-American church.

Thereafter, I was dubbed "Sister Hat"! There will never be another like him; I miss him so dearly!
Sarah Ho
Nicknamed by Willie as: Senorita Bernie
Willie was was my boss in college for 2.5 years. He was such a packrat - I stayed after work multiple times to help him sort through boxes and boxes (that were cloaked to look like side tables - ha!) of old photocopies of everything under the sun that he INSISTED on keeping just in case he might need them someday. I can still remember how proud he was when I was accepted to BG for grad school - his alma mater - and assured me that now I’d be soaring with the falcons. He named me Senorita Bernie because a) our grad student mistook me for Hispanic and he thought that was hilarious, and b) I mistakenly advocated for the old dive bar, Bernie's (their bagels were good!) and he was disgusted by that!
Liz Gordon-Canlas
Nicknamed by Willie as: Madame President
Willie gave me the nickname Madame President because I seemed to always run into him when I was going or coming from a meeting in Bricker or with the Board of Trustees during my time as a staff member at Ohio State. I so fondly remember stopping in to visit campus after I had my first baby. I was picking up my mail and Willie walked with me across campus. During the way he told me the name of every single person he knew who had the same name as my son. During a particularly challenging day at my new institution my office phone rang and it was Willie Young. "Madame President!" He was of course calling to see if I could help him support a student. He was tireless in his work to support students at Ohio State. I will miss him very much.


For more information about how we are honoring Willie Young, Sr.'s legacy, please visit