Seven years out of high school, Robert Champer (’81) was still looking for a direction in life. He was working construction throughout Queens, and short stints studying at three colleges had left him unsure about higher education. “I planned to go back to study electronics,” and “York was closest to where I was working,” says Champer.
At registration, fate intervened. Champer ran into a friend who advised him to sign up for biology. “I did okay, no great shakes, on the first few tests. But the teachers gave me the confidence to study harder.” Champer credits professors Amadeo D’Adamo, Gene Levin, Jack Schlein, Leslie Lewis and Paul Young, among others, with pushing him to shoot for the moon. For Champer, it meant something he never imagined: medical school. His hard work paid off. Champer scored in the top 2 percent on his MCATs and within six years completed an M.D./Ph.D. program at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Today Champer is an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Eugene, Oregon, where he lives with his children and wife of 26 years, whom he met at York. “To honor my professors and the difference York has made in so many lives,” Dr. Champer recently made York College’s first six-figure commitment from an alumnus, and he hopes others will follow suit.