When Gatton’s new dean, Dr. David Blackwell, laid out a future vision for expansion, Dr. Bill Seale liked it so much that, "I want to help them even more," he says.
Seale is retired and can claim a list of achievements that include: chief economist and principal at the $28 billion mutual fund investment firm ProFunds, chairman of the finance department and senior associate dean of the business school at George Washington University and former Commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (an appointment by President Reagan).
Years ago, even with a few football scholarship options for his schooling, there was no question where Seale wanted to go to school: Kentucky. And that strong affinity still holds true.
"I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the University of Kentucky. I just want to give something back. That’s one of the reasons I did the Dr. D. Milton Shuffett Agricultural Economics Endowment Fund. It is an undergraduate scholarship designed for Kentucky kids, and it’s a need-based scholarship. I want to give something back so people can do more," he says.
After he graduated in 1963 with a degree in chemistry, Seale worked for UK’s medical school for a couple of years and simultaneously studied for a Master’s in Agricultural Economics. He received his Master's in 1969 and Ph.D. in 1975.
He hit a career track with a wider influence than he ever imagined possible. Seale worked for Kentucky Senator Walter Huddleston where he ran the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture Production and Marketing and Stabilization of Prices. After that, President Reagan appointed him to the Futures Trading Commission for a five-year term.
Once his term was up, Seale planned to retire and move to Florida. But then George Washington University gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He became chairman of the finance department and later, the senior associate dean of the business school.
After that, The ProFunds Group was launched in 1997. Seale was one of three partners.
With offices in Bethesda, Md., the company provides a wide range of investment strategies for knowledgeable investors, offering more than 100 mutual funds. In 2006, ProFunds launched another business – ProShares. It introduced the first "geared" exchange traded funds (ETFs) in the United States. Today, ProShares offers an array of more than 120 alternative ETFs. Collectively, ProFunds and ProShares manage nearly $28 billion in mutual fund and ETF assets.
Seale left about five years ago, but he’s still a Principal in the company. He splits time between Annapolis, Md., and Key Largo, Fla., where he has a Sabre 54 Flybridge yacht.
Meanwhile, helping UK will continue to be one of his priorities, especially as the expansion goes forward.
"It’s a great institution, and it’s got an absolutely spectacularly gorgeous campus, and all you’ve got to do is go around the country to figure that one out," he describes. "Simply put, it’s just one of those things we have to support."