Desire To Uphold the Profession’s Future Inspired Endowment Gift

Jul. 14, 2015

Myke Kudlas and ProtonIn seeking new worlds, experiences and ideas, Myke Kudlas, M.Ed., R.T. (R)(QM), CIIP, traveled the globe before finding a whippet companion named Proton and his professional home in radiologic technology.

It was a total immersion in the details of history when he was young that primed Myke to earn a bachelor’s degree in history from Mankato State University in 1987. Growing up in Rochester, Minnesota, he discovered an appreciation of the charitable spirit in a city shaped by the nuns who raised funds to establish the Mayo Clinic. This bookish young man might have surprised a few people when he left the states to teach in Zaire, Africa, but his journey was inspired by what he learned about that giving spirit in his hometown.

“My uncle used to berate my parents about my staying home and reading books. He warned them that they might never get rid of me,” recalls Myke. “However, it was reading about the adventures of others over the years that helped me decide to teach in Africa. My last year in college, I met a school teacher from Africa who encouraged me to pursue a teaching position there after graduation. It was like a switch flipped in me and I decided to create my own adventure rather than read about other’s adventures in books.”

After three years in Africa, Myke returned to the U.S. and taught high school history. After a few years teaching at a private school and some time spent as a substitute teacher, the lack of job opportunities led him to re-evaluate his career path. It was then that he found his calling in the radiography program at Mayo. Yet it wasn’t long after returning to his hometown and earning an associate degree that Myke found himself on the move again.

Mayo was behind this move as well, with Myke taking a post in 1999 as director of the radiography program at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2005, he earned a master’s degree from the University of North Florida, and in 2010 he joined the ASRT, where he now serves as the chief academic officer.

In his job at ASRT, his travels and the lessons about health care learned both globally and in the U.S. gave Myke a unique perspective from which he realized how small gifts from hundreds to thousands of radiologic technologists might help build a more secure future for everyone involved. His donation, in the form of an endowment, will collect interest on the principal donation and it is that interest that will help maintain the ASRT Foundation and its scholarships, outreach programs and original research grants as each program progresses into the future.

Like many of his fellow radiologic technologists, Myke found his way into the R.T. professional society because the Mayo Clinic encouraged volunteering. “There were such good role models at Mayo, starting with the nuns at St. Mary’s, who raised $40,000 over three years for the first hospital by going without new habits and other basics.”

But the greatest inspiration over the years turned out to be a dog Myke named Proton, his travel companion and patient pal, who sat by at the ASRT as Myke worked. That fortitude, unconditional acceptance and the ability to move forward also shaped Myke’s view of giving.

Myke believes a gift of an operational endowment to the ASRT Foundation helps ensure the longevity of the organization and its good work.

“The Foundation not only helps new technologists; more importantly, it raises awareness of the need to assist established technologists as they advance patient care,” Myke says. “Helping fund ASRT Foundation operations through an endowment is the next logical step in securing the future of the radiologic sciences.”