Frederick C. Butler, Jr. '58
The John W. Kuykendall Award is presented to an alumnus in recognition of extraordinary service to his or her community, demonstrating leadership through servanthood in the spirit of Davidson's fifteenth president. Fred Butler's life is the fulfillment of Davidson's mission of "preparing young minds for leadership and service." From his time at Davidson, when he earned the most valuable player award on the varsity soccer team, he has given his best effort to whatever endeavor he undertakes.
After graduating from Davidson, Fred earned his medical degree from Duke University in 1961. After a year-long internship at Duke, he completed a fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine. Fred finished his residency in ophthalmology at Baylor University, where he received the Goar Research Award in Ophthalmology in 1965. In 1965-66, he completed a tour of duty in Vietnam with the Army Medical Corps and was named "Diplomate" of the American Board of Ophthalmology. Following his military career Fred was in private practice with Eye Associates of Wilmington (N.C.) until 1996. For many years during his time in private practice and multiple times a year since he retired, Fred has traveled to Leogane, Haiti, and to other locations worldwide to offer medical services to the citizens of those impoverished countries. It is for this service that he is being recognized today.
Since his retirement in 1996, Fred has traveled to Haiti four times a year for weeks at a time to participate in medical mission work, most often performing eye operations on people blinded by cataracts. On a recent trip to Vietnam, he spent a week doing cataract surgery and teaching at a government hospital. With his good humor and gentle manner, he soothes his patients' worries, while curing their blindness.
Fred embraces challenges willingly and overcomes obstacles energetically. In his medical mission work, he operates with limited equipment and resources. During one trip to Haiti, patients had to be evacuated to the second floor when the hospital experienced flooding with water as high as five feet on the first floor. No challenge seems too great for this Davidsonian. In October of 1998, Fred climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, with his two sons Freddie '84, and Bryan '90. Fred energetically seeks to attack any challenge.
Because you have opened our eyes to the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves; because you are a healer, an educator, and a friend; because you inspire others to give more of themselves through your own selfless service to humankind; because you embrace the world as your community; and because you give of yourself with modesty, kindness, and good humor, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Frederick Clarence Butler, Jr., Class of 1958, and presents you with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service on the occasion of the Forty-Fifth Reunion of your class, April 5, 2003.