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Capital Campaign May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Bill Proffer, ’76, M.S. ’78

From left, Bill Proffer, Revelle ’76, M.S. ’78, with Brooke Bain of the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Khaled Hosseini, M.D. ’93, at the Alumni Awards for Excellence.

Bill Proffer learned of the plight of medical students in Afghanistan when fellow alum and acclaimed Kite Runner author, Khaled Hosseini, M.D. ’93, contacted him about the dire shortage of current medical books to teach the war torn country’s future doctors.

Proffer followed through on Hosseini’s ­request for help, working with UC San Diego’s Medical Alumni Association to gather books. Since then, more than a ton—literally—of medical texts have been ­donated by alumni and faculty. Thanks in large part to Proffer, who played a key role in the logistics of UC San Diego’s first ­shipment, the books were safely delivered to the Kabul Medical University this summer.
While serving as assistant vice president for technology and chief systems engineer at Science Applications International ­Corporation (SAIC), Proffer has devotedly volunteered his time and resources with the Alumni Association’s annual Awards for Excellence. For over a decade, Proffer and his wife, Terri, have also supported student scholarships, the Preuss School and the Jacobs School of Engineering.

What do you hope to accomplish by sending medical books to Afghanistan?
I think the most satisfying outcome would be to host an Afghan doctor at UC San Diego in the future and hear that, in some small way, we made a difference in his/her ­education and the ability for doctors to ­better care for the people of Afghanistan.

What advice would you give your fellow alumni about giving to their alma mater?
As you mature and find yourself able to give back, you realize that there is a large amount of satisfaction in doing things that help the ­common good. There are wonderful ­opportunities to broaden one’s views and ­participate in a vast array of meaningful ­pursuits. Becoming ­involved in one’s alumni ­association provides great exposure to such ­possibilities. Think about the incredible ­diversity of people you met while at UCSD and about what those alums are going to ­accomplish during their lives!

What would you say was your biggest lesson learned at UC San Diego?
There were many “lessons learned” (and many more so “not learned,” as evidenced by certain grades). Perhaps the one which best reflects my college, Revelle, is summed up in this quote from Thomas Huxley: “Try to learn something about everything and ­everything about something.”

I can’t think of a better place to start doing that than UC San Diego.

Current medical texts and funding to offset the cost of shipping to Afghanistan are still needed. To help, please contact Brooke Bain at (858) 822-1210.




Miss most about UC San Diego?
Inner tube water polo.

Course that made the biggest impression?
Russian. It clearly pointed out that my foreign language skills are pretty much nil.

Favorite place to hang out?
The Institute of Geo-physics and Planetary Physics (IGPP), over-looking the ocean. I had an office there one summer and ever since, my offices have gone downhill.

To learn more about supporting undergraduates, call (858) 822-1536 or email kspaar@ucsd.edu