The Rodney S. Young Memorial Lectureship was established in 1976 by the Philadelphia Society, and the Rodney S. Young Memorial Lecture was given annually in Philadelphia thereafter. In 2001, thanks to generous donations from AIA members nationwide, the Rodney S. Young Lectureship was made a part of the program administered by Institute headquarters, with lectures given around the country.
Rodney S. Young earned his Ph.D. in classics and archaeology from Princeton University in 1940, excavating in the Agora and elsewhere in Greece as a student. He became Curator of the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1950. In the same year, he began new excavations at Gordion, Turkey, which he directed until his death in 1974. He was President of the Archaeological Institute of America from 1968 to 1972 and was the Norton Lecturer in 1968/1969. Professor Young's interests included Greek and Phrygian archaeology and history, the Early Iron Age, and early writing. In addition to these subjects, Professor Young had a strong interest in the Mediterranean of his own day, raising money for and driving an ambulance in Greece after the Italian invasion of 1940, heading the Greece desk for allied intelligence in Cairo after the United States entered the war, and serving as a special assistant for post-war humanitarian relief in Greece.
The Young Lecturer is chosen each year by the AIA Lecture Program Committee.