Kevin Yost Memorial Scholarships to Leave Lasting Legacy
Kevin Yost was an outgoing, kind-hearted soul who was unexpectedly taken too soon in 2019 at the age of 28. Kevin earned an undergraduate degree in business administration while studying management information systems in the Orfalea College of Business, and later he received dual master’s degrees in city and regional planning and engineering, each with an emphasis on transportation planning.
“Kevin was a great student and a really nice guy. He had a passion for transportation planning and loved talking about creative solutions to our transportation challenges,” said Dr. Michael Boswell, who heads the City and Regional Planning Department in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
Growing up in Fresno, Kevin loved putting together computers, going on family camping trips and playing tennis. He was very close with his twin sister, Kristi.
“Kevin was really into hiking and the outdoors,” she said. "We grew up in a very loving household, and since we’re twins, we also went through similar parts of life around the same time, which helped bring us closer together.”
Kevin met his wife Lu Yu while working for KPMG. She recalled, "He was constantly asking ‘How can we improve this street?’ or ‘How can we make it safer?' He always wanted to help communities and contribute to society to make the streets safer to walk and bike.”
After graduating with his dual master’s degrees, Kevin worked for Kittelson & Associates, a transportation engineering consulting firm, as a transportation analyst in Sacramento. He worked closely with Matt Braughton, a senior planner in the Sacramento office, and Brian Ray, a senior principle engineer in the Portland, Oregon, office. Both coworkers were two of his onboarding mentors.
“He wanted to be in year five of his career when he was one month into the job and that’s something I really loved as his mentor,” Braughton expressed. “I got to support his growth and see his intense curiosity not just for the technical work but also how to prepare to be a project manager. He was really engaged for someone who was just dipping his toe into the profession.”
“Kevin never gave up,” added Ray. “He was having to learn basic concepts since he was coming from a completely different career path initially. You couldn’t break his spirit and he had that never-ending smile.”
Throughout his time at Kittelson & Associates, Kevin passionately led projects to help communities improve the safety, effectiveness and sustainability of bicycle and pedestrian transportation systems. “Outside of project work, he was super passionate about attending community meetings and making sure his ideals and values were represented,” Braughton said.
To honor Kevin’s remarkable life and his passion for transportation advocacy, his family created a scholarship endowment in his name. Their generous gift of $250,000 will support two annual scholarships — one for a student studying city and regional planning and another for a student studying engineering.
“We know the cost of education is a barrier for many talented students,” added Boswell. “This scholarship will help us meet our goal of providing an excellent transportation planning and engineering education to those students. It is a meaningful tribute to Kevin and his passion.”
Yost’s family acknowledged Kevin’s devotion and determination.
“Kevin was funny, gentle, kind-hearted, open-minded, determined, and always wanted to help the people around him,” said his wife Lu. “He was a devoted friend, loving brother, gracious son, affectionate husband, passionate transportation planner. His loyalty, sense of humor and compassion will be missed by everyone. He left a lasting impression on anyone he came into contact with.”
“One big aspect of how we can continue Kevin’s legacy is to help other students that share his passion for city planning and engineering," said Kevin's father, David. "He loved Cal Poly and hopefully we see a little bit of Kevin in the students that receive the scholarship.”
“I would like to see the person who receives the scholarship pursue goals similar to Kevin’s of making the streets safer for everyone – bikers, pedestrians and drivers,” Kevin’s grandfather Bob Johnson shared.
“His story’s not over,” expressed his mother, Terri.
Kevin’s legacy will continue to live on and be celebrated within the College of Architecture and Environmental Design through the Kevin Yost Scholarship Endowment.