William Speer Kuhn III (Bologna '82, Washington '83) died of hypothermia on May 21, 1995 at the age of 39 while he and a friend were hiking in the mountains near Almaty, in Kazakhstan. Bill had always been adventurous. Perhaps it was because he had been raised in a Foreign Service family and had become a citizen of the world. He received half of his education in France, half in America, and spent his school years in Italy and Switzerland.
After SAIS, Bill began his career by working as an escort interpreter in French at the State Department, then served as a Foreign Service Officer in Madagascar, Chile and Washington D.C. and as an election observer in Africa. He then left State for the excitement of the "Wild West"; he was team leader with CARE's humanitarian assistance program in Armenia, Georgia and Russia and worked with Deloitte & Touche as a team leader of USAID's privatization program in Almaty and Akmola, Kazakhstan.
Bill's professors, friends and family members remember him as an independent character with a strong mind of his own: a man well ahead of his time. Following his premature death, his family decided to set up the William Speer Kuhn III Summer Internship Fund at SAIS. The Fund was established to continue his commitment to understanding Central Asia and supports a SAIS student internship or study trip in the 15 countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU). Ideally, the selected student should have little/no direct prior experience in the country of destination, and the funds should be used for him/her to gain exposure to and understanding of Central Asia and other countries of the FSU.
Since its inception, the William Speer Kuhn III Summer Internship Fund has reached a remarkable value of $90,000
and twenty-seven students
have benefitted from the fund to follow their passions via summer internships. View list
of summer internships.
As we approach the 25th anniversary of Bill's passing his family and friends are continuing an initiative to bring the value of the Fund to $150,000:
"The average amount generated by the fund per year is about $4,000, which SAIS allocates to students. This barely covers the cost of a return plane ticket, let alone bare bones living costs for a summer. The fundraising drive would almost double the current expendable payout. We are therefore appealing to you to raise the additional funds which will help us to reach our goal in honor of Bill and to continue his legacy. Donations of any size would be greatly appreciated as well as commitments payable over a number of years."
Gifts to SAIS are tax deductible in the USA and in many other European countries (click here
for more information).
Make a pledge and/or a gift now on the online donations
For assistance and/or more information, please contact the SAIS Europe development team