Pat Singleton-Young: 33 years and counting
To say Pat Singleton-Young is an involved staff member at Coastal Carolina University is an understatement. Her list of responsibilities, accomplishments and involvement in organizations covers an extensive span of CCU’s history and development.
While her official title is director of Multicultural Student Services, she has also held the positions of Director of Orientation, Director of Residence Life, Director of Counseling and Health Services, and Director of Student Activities.
With a new school year starting, Singleton-Young has been extremely busy preparing for Welcome Week. Most of her days start early in the morning and continue late into the night.
“My daughter often calls me saying, ‘Alright Mom, it’s getting late, time for you to come home,’” said Singleton-Young. “I’d still be in the office at 9:30 at night when they’re locking the building up.”
Singleton-Young has been a part of CCU since 1979 and is going into her 33rd year with the University.
“People always say, ‘Well, you’ve only been with one institution?’ and I tell them no,” said Singleton-Young. “I’ve seen the change in Coastal. I’ve seen the growth. I was here to see it go from 800 students to 1,000 students; I was here for the jump from 1,000 to 2,000 and where are we today? Over 8,000 students! So no, this is not the same institution. It’s constantly changing and growing.”
Her employment with CCU is not where her relationship with the University began. She graduated from the USC – Coastal Carolina College in 1975, and completed her master’s degree in 1978. She held the first membership chair of the CCU Alumni Association when it was founded in 1976.
“I have been blessed to have Pat Singleton-Young as a friend and colleague for the past three-plus decades,” said CCU Executive Vice President Eddie Dyer. “I can also say that the University has been blessed to have her as part of the Coastal family for all these years.”
Singleton-Young has been hard at work planning and organizing student affairs sessions for summer orientation and this year’s Welcome Week. The program started six years ago with the goals of giving incoming students a sense of comfort when they start classes and reassuring parents who are new to the college experience. In order to prepare for Welcome Week, Singleton-Young starts planning in late April and starts weekly committee meetings in July.
Singleton-Young coaches parents of new college students through the process of letting go, and she is currently practicing what she preaches. Her own daughter, Hope, enrolled as a freshman at the University of South Carolina this fall as a psychology major. She plays the alto saxophone in the USC marching band.
“I’m always telling parents, ‘Don’t worry, your child is fine! Give her some space, and let her be the one to call you first.’ Well, now I’m that worried parent,” said Singleton-Young.
Her son Ryan, 23, has bachelor’s degrees in history and music from CCU, and he is currently in the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) program. Ryan plays the trumpet and is a graduate assistant in the CCU Department of Music.
The Murrells Inlet native is married to Freddie Young of New Orleans, a retired teacher of 34 years. With her only two children in college, Singleton-Young does not plan on retiring for at least five more years.
Singleton-Young’s busy schedule leaves little room to be a worried parent. After Welcome Week, Singleton-Young jumps right into her duties for fall semester, including those of guiding Multicultural Student Services (MSS).
As director of the department, Singleton-Young works to create a safe and connected place for multicultural students, which make up 23 percent of CCU’s campus. She makes a point to always have time for minority students, whether it is through counseling or events and programs.
In addition to planning events, she advises three student groups. She also has a close relationship with Greek Life and Student Activities. “Even though it’s my title, I don’t want people to think I’m strictly working with multicultural students. That’s why I’m the Student Government Association adviser as well – to stay involved,” said Singleton-Young. Her involvement with SGA spans more that 20 years. Her committee work includes the alcohol coalition, international programs, assessment committee, Hispanic task force and more. She accepts new responsibilities because of her drive to stay involved. “Mrs. Pat is very dedicated and reliable.” said Administrative Specialist Bertha Fladger. “There is not one student, staff or faculty member on campus that she is not willing to assist. Her dedication goes far beyond 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
What little free time she has is spent singing in her church choir or taking a break for some much needed couch time. “I have no time for any real hobbies,” she said. “The only things I enjoy are watching re-runs of ‘Criminal Minds’ and NFL football.”
Singleton-Young’s colleagues and students describe her as a cherished and valued individual on the CCU campus. “Her intelligence, commitment, people skills, positive outlook, grace and ‘mothering’ instincts have truly enriched our campus, generally, and our multicultural programs specifically,” said Dyer.
Her willingness to listen and her ability to lift the spirits of those around her enhances the atmosphere on campus and provides a sense of home.
“When I joined the CCU staff in 2004 as the administrative specialist for MSS; Mrs. Pat was more than a direct supervisor; I considered her my friend,” said Fladger. “As soon as I started here, my husband became very ill and eventually passed away. I had been here for less than a year, and Mrs. Pat allowed me to take time off to care for my husband. For that, I will be forever grateful.”
To see her students grow as individuals during their time spent at Coastal is a reward in itself for Singleton-Young – the end result of all of the hard work she puts into the University.
“That’s what keeps me going,” she said. “When a student comes off that graduation stage and makes a beeline straight to me, I know I’ve done something right here. I stay for these students.”