Paul Proffitt '71

Paul Proffitt '71

Alumnus Sets Aside Gift for KCU

Examine the life and career of Paul Proffitt, DO, and it's easy enough to identify a common thread-the presence and influence of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) in various capacities throughout the decades.

Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Proffitt, a 1971 graduate of KCU, was encouraged to consider the University for medical school by his primary care doctor in Texas, KCU alumnus Phillip Paul Saperstein, DO, a 1955 graduate.

Fast forward to 1971, a year that would prove big for Proffitt. It included not only his graduation from KCU, but also the birth of his first child, Jason, at the University's Conley Hospital-the first undergraduate teaching hospital on the campus of an osteopathic college. Three years later, Saperstein delivered Proffitt's second child, daughter Sally, at Fort Worth Osteopathic Hospital, where Proffitt completed his internship in 1972.

Proffitt, who today is "99.9 percent retired" and living in Austin, Texas, credits KCU with helping shape his medical career, which has spanned more than four decades.

"It was a wonderful education," he says.

"I had caring professors. It broadened my experience professionally, of course, and increased my ability to see and understand patients better....I received a lot from KCU."

Thinking of Tomorrow Today

When Proffitt began crafting his will more than a decade ago, he made important decisions about what to leave behind, and where to leave it.

He carved out a gift to establish a scholarship at Texas Wesleyan, where he earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry with minors in biology and physiology.

And he established a general gift to KCU: A provision in his will sets aside a portion of his estate for the school once he "passes the threshold, so to speak."

Proffitt says that his gift isn't earmarked for any specific area or purpose, although he added he might choose to designate a particular area in the future.

Proffitt notes that today's KCU is quite a bit different than it was when he left in 1971, with improvements in the physical campus and advances inside the classroom and laboratories clearly evident.

He says he's pleased with how the school has evolved, yet maintained its core mission. Proffitt hopes his future gift will help pave the way for the next generation of physicians and the continuation of high-quality care for patients.

"It's grown in a positive direction," he said of KCU.

"I'm proud of my time there and proud of my university. It's made great strides toward being an institution of medical education for the future. The school has a primary care focus, and I want to encourage the continuation of that as well."

Career at a Glance

Proffitt's education was based in Texas and Kansas City, so it's no surprise he chose those two areas to practice. He was accepted to various osteopathic medical schools coming out of Texas Wesleyan, but decided on KCU because of Saperstein's influence and the school's location in an urban area.

A no-strings-attached scholarship from the Texas Legislature eased Proffitt's financial responsibility at KCU for the first two years. Proffitt repaid the help from his home state after graduation.

"They didn't require that I go back to Texas to practice, but I did anyway," he said.

His career began when he started as a family doctor in private practice in Fort Worth. During that time, Proffitt also became the first clinical faculty hired at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he ran the outpatient clinic and taught medical students.

His time at home in Texas was followed by a return to Kansas City, where he completed a three-year residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center, followed by a one-year fellowship.

In 1982, he went back to Texas-this time for good-and joined a friend's practice in Port Arthur. He worked there in private practice for 30 years.

Board certified in neurology and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine, Proffitt remains active today by overseeing electrodiagnostic testing once or twice per month at various physicians' offices in Texas.

None of his career highlights, Proffitt is careful to note, would have been possible without the school and faculty at KCU, and Saperstein's endorsement. It was in that spirit of appreciation that he decided on his KCU gift, and he hopes other alumni will consider similar generosity.

"KCU has a lot to offer. The gift has been in my will for more than 10 years. I am happy to help."

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