Call him ‘Dom Miguel’

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

He might not ride into campus on a white horse dressed in shining suit of armor, but it’s true: the Portuguese Royal Family recently knighted U President Michael Young.

Young said he could now be referred to as “Dom Miguel,” a title given to Portuguese knights similar to the Italian “don.”

“Kind of like ‘The Godfather,'” Young said.

Dom Duarte Pio, the acting king of Portugal and also known as the Duke of Braganza, presented Young the award at the end of September.

Although Young is unsure why he was knighted, he suspects it had to do with his international humanitarian efforts, he said.

In the last 20 years, Young has headed the “Project on Religion, Human Rights and Religious Freedom” at Columbia University, served on the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom and published writings on environmental treaties and human rights.

The ceremony was held after a Catholic mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in downtown Salt Lake City on Sept. 29.

Young was awarded the Legion of Merit of the Order of Saint Michael, a 900-year-old knighthood second to the famous Knights of Malta.

Allen Neciosup, a senior in mechanical engineering, said he is impressed that Young is being honored for service aside from his position at the U.

“I think it’s cool because he’s serving outside of his calling,” Neciosup said. “He doesn’t have to do that.”

Because Young received a “high order” knighting from the king, the U President did not have to kneel and have his shoulders tapped by a royal sword. Other individuals were knighted by a duke in this fashion before Young, for less prestigious awards.

Instead, Young said the king stood one step above him at the front of the cathedral, shook his hand and gave him a medal.

The award came as a surprise for Young, because this was the first time he had ever met or been in contact with the Portuguese Royal Family.

The king and other royalty came to the United States to honor Americans active in relief efforts and public service.

“It was a lot of fun,” Young said. “You do work because you deeply believe in it, not because you expect or deserve recognition.”

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