Phil De Young’s extraordinary efforts spanning decades across numerous aspects of Monash University and the education and private sectors have been formally recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia.
The Monash alumnus has contributed to society in a range of areas, receiving the OAM on Australia Day for his service to independent school education.
An education career spanning more than four decades across five elite Victorian schools sandwiched a career across the business and financial sector.
While Phil appreciates the enormity of what he’s received, the OAM won’t change him as a person.
“I’ve never been one for awards or recognition, I’m not going to put OAM after my name going forward,” Phil explains.
“You do these things (what I’ve done) to help people, not for the thanks.”
“But humbled is probably the word I’d use. I’m humbled that someone put my name forward (even it was against my wishes initially).
“You don’t do these things for the thanks… but it’s been humbling to be reminded of the people I’ve helped.”
Phil spent just shy of a decade combined, as the principal of Carey Baptist Grammar School and Trinity Grammar School, as well as teaching careers at Caulfield Grammar, Mentone Grammar and Wesley College.
But in what is an insight into the man himself, Phil says: “At school, people would always call me Phil. Some like being referred to as sir and those titles, but that’s not for me.”
In terms of what Phil has contributed to the University, his work with the Monash Blues Football Club cannot be overstated.
Over 200 games as a player – which Phil admits was far too many, but couldn’t bring himself to stop – was followed by numerous stints as president. He also earned a life membership to the club and has been a friendly face for over 50 years now.
Despite being enlisted in the Army during his football career in what he describes as the hardest thing he’s ever done, Phil has taken many life lessons out of the Monash Blues that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I’m still connected with people from the footy club, it truly is a wonderful place,” he details.
“As like many other University Football Clubs, Monash Blues is primarily country kids.
“I can count on one hand the number of ordinary people I’ve seen at the club over my time and they don’t last long.”
Monash has given Phil his career in the form of two degrees and a Graduate Diploma, his passion in the form of Monash Blues, and the love of his life in wife Rosemary.
The two met on campus and were even married at Monash and have now spent 52 years together.
Phil is still involved in the Football club in an unofficial capacity, and says at 75 years of age it’s time for someone else to lead the next direction of the club.
But he remains a committed volunteer, stating he’ll forever be indebted to the club that fulfilled his time as a student at Monash.
“If I did something for the club every day for the rest of my life, I’d still be in debt for what they’ve given me,” he adds.
“I say this a lot… the culture of the club is the same in 2023 as it was in 1963. Take your footy seriously but not yourself, that’s what’s made the club such a great place for so long.”
It all feeds into the way Phil has lived his life in a way that has served himself and others so well.
“I work hard and I give my best. I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t put their best into things,” Phil states.
“That’s been my life motto really, work hard and give your best.”
Despite being retired and not involved in the Football Club in an official capacity, Phil still works and volunteers from time to time, enjoying giving back after all these years.
Phil’s assisted countless individuals, many from and through Monash University, and Team Monash would like to extend their congratulations to the great man (even though he doesn’t want them)!