|(from left) Monogram Club president Jim Carroll, presenter Bob Minnix, Krause Award recipient Bill Hurd and Monogram Club vice president Dave Duerson.|
Dr. Bill Hurd was honored at the June 6 Monogram Club dinner with the Moose Krause Award, the highest honor presented by the Monogram Club to a member most worthy of distinction. A world-class sprinter and 1969 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, Hurd now is a noted eye surgeon – with an ophthalmology practice in Memphis that specializes in cataract, glaucoma and diabetic treatment and keratorefractive surgery.
Hurd – who was presented the Krause Award by former Irish football player Bob Minnix – annually spends 2-3 weeks providing voluntary eye surgery to the poor in Africa, Mexico and Brazil. On the most recent trip to Madagascar, he and two other doctors saw 1,100 patients in 10 days and he performed 35 eye surgeries – with Hurd and his colleagues increasingly in demand as their reputation grows. Many of the needy patients are almost completely blind and some walk long distances for the lifechanging surgeries. One elderly woman was able to see her grandchildren for the first time after surgery performed by Hurd.
Hurd’s days of distinction as a collegian included being named Notre Dame’s “athlete of the year” for 1967-68 – edging football stars Rocky Bleier and Dave Martin and basketball great Bob Arnzen – and establishing the American indoor record in the 300-yard dash (29.8). He set eight Notre Dame records and totaled five All-American finishes at the 1968 and ’69 NCAA meets (only two Notre Dame student-athletes ever have totaled more All-America honors).
He also was a finalist (top eight) at the Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 meters, finishing fifth in the 100 to just miss a spot on the Olympic squad (his competitors included the likes of Jim Hines, John Carlos, Tommy Smith and Mel Gray).
Hurd – who added graduate degrees from M.I.T. (master’s in management science) and Meaharry Medical School in Nashville – was a Rhodes Scholarship regional finalist and received Notre Dame’s Harvey Foster Award in 1992 (recognizing alumni for distinguished civic activity) and the NCAA’s prestigious Silver Anniversary Award in 1994 (recognizing career success and community service). He holds two U.S./foreign patents for optical devices, including a slit-lamp, mountable intraocular biometer.
Also an accomplished jazz musician, Hurd currently is completing work on his fourth CD, in which he plays the saxophone and flute.
“The Notre Dame alumni network is very comprehensive worldwide. Even to this day, everywhere I go people are very impressed that I went to Notre Dame,” says Hurd, who is living proof of his belief that engineers can make great doctors.
“A college degree from Notre Dame generates tremendous respect. I could have gone to West Point or M.I.T. for my undergrad – but I felt that going to Notre Dame made me so much more well-rounded. And my life is all the better for it.”
Hurd and his wife Rhynette, an attorney, have sent both of their sons to Notre Dame (Ryan Hurd is a rising junior sprinter on the track team).