Dean Young

Foundation for success

"Blondie" cartoonist Dean Young says, "Coming to LaGrange College has been the cornerstone of my life.

"It taught me the value of learning, and it gave me the foundation to do everything that I'm doing today," he told a group of students while visiting campus during Homecoming, where he was honored with the Walter Malcolm Shackelford Distinguished Alumnus Award.

For the past 37 years, Young has been creating one of the world's most popular and beloved comic strips—"Blondie."

Today, the strip appears in more than 2,500 newspapers worldwide, and it's available online.

Young graduated from LaGrange in 1960 with a degree in business and planned to use what he learned to work in advertising.

After two or three years of working for an agency in Miami, he decided to go to work with his father, celebrated cartoonist, Chic Young. Chic originally dreamed up Blondie and Dagwood in 1930.

When his father died in 1963, Dean inherited "Blondie" and decided to preserve its legacy.

Since then, he's written six daily comics and a Sunday version of the strip.

Based in Clearwater Beach, Fla., Young collaborates with two artists—one in Binghamton, N.Y., and the other in Alabaster, Ala.,—to bring "Blondie" to life.

During his visit to campus, he devoted much of his schedule to meeting with students. He was the guest speaker at a cultural enrichment event, met with art and design majors, and spent an afternoon mentoring a group of students at the SOURCE Center.

"You're lucky to be here," he said.

"The whole foundation for what I do and the values for the Bumsteads came from here."

He encouraged the students to think about their talents and find out what they're good at.

"If you can figure out something that you think you'll like to do, then that's the key, especially if you're an LC graduate," he said.

"It's real important to love what you do.

"Whatever you're thinking about doing (career-wise), think about something that you're going to really love."