Casper 'Cap' Uldriks, '73
A future gift for philosophy studies
Most Albion alumni have at least one unforgettable moment from their student days: meeting a spouse or lifelong friend, discovering a true passion, having a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Casper “Cap” Uldriks, ’73, looks back on many influential moments spent in class with faculty who challenged him to look differently at the world and to explore some of life’s big questions in new ways. But over the years, he has also remembered another singular moment--sitting on the Quad one night conversing with a fellow student. The young woman explained that her family situation had changed, and she could not afford to return to Albion the following fall.
“The most I could do was give her a hug—it has always stuck with me, that feeling that I couldn’t do anything to help her,” Cap says. “That’s why I want to give my estate to Albion. If what I’m doing can help someone in need, I feel good about that.”
Through his estate plan, he has created the Casper E. Uldriks Philosophy Scholarship, providing critical financial support for junior and senior students who are pursuing the major that has had a great impact on his life. His future gift will establish an endowment that will fund the scholarship in perpetuity.
“I appreciated the fact that, at Albion, the Philosophy Department connected our studies to the real world,” Cap says. An honors graduate, he recalls that the department and particularly his adviser, Jack Padgett, were “inspirational,” encouraging him to explore his interests in both Freudian psychology and existentialism. Padgett was instrumental in motivating Cap to earn a master of divinity degree at Boston University, after which he earned a law degree at Suffolk University. For him, philosophy, theology, and law point to what’s good, humanly possible, and fair.
Prior to serving in his current position as counsel at the Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz law firm in Washington, D.C., Cap worked as the associate director for regulatory guidance and government affairs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. He spent over 30 years at the FDA, holding many positions related to the approval of newly developed medical devices. While at the FDA, Cap was instrumental in the implementation of numerous amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act including the Safe Medical Devices Act.
Cap also served as an FDA field investigator, and notes that he and his FDA colleagues made decisions on a daily basis that could have a significant impact in people’s lives. Asking one question was enough, he says. “Would I want this medical product used on my family?” Safeguarding the public’s health was always paramount, he adds. “We all felt that we were doing something for the benefit of the public with some real social value.”