Eric Rudofker ’11 doesn’t know how his interests in medicine, business, music and humanitarianism connect, but he’s managed to explore each during his four years at the University of Richmond.

“Having sung all through high school, I came in as a music major with a scholarship through the music department,” Rudofker said. “My whole family has careers in business so I took a few courses, and I was pretty good at it.”

It was when Professor Joe Hoyle challenged his accounting students to get an A that Rudofker was hooked. After a lot of consistent hard work, he met the challenge.

“After I got an A in that class, I realized I can do anything if I go about it the right way and really put my mind to it,” he said. That attitude went on to define his entire Richmond career.

After a business internship didn’t come together the summer after his sophomore year, Rudofker decided to explore a different avenue.

“I took an EMT class and walked away from the program thinking, business is pretty cool, but medicine—medicine is really cool. A million times cooler,” he said.

So Rudofker’s next step was to start taking science courses at Richmond—a little tough when you’re a junior almost finished with your music and business double major.

“I told myself, I think that I can do this if I just do it the right way,” he said. “So, right in the middle of the summer in July, I dropped my upper-level business courses and enrolled in freshman-level science courses.”

Rudofker is still completing a business minor and only has one more class left in his music major. He says he really enjoys his science courses and has leadership positions in EMT programs both on and off campus.

“Being an EMT just works better with my personality,” Rudofker said. “I thought business was the way to go because that’s what I’d been exposed to my whole life. You always take some sort of interest in what your parents do, and my parents both have great jobs, that they really love. I enjoyed all my economics, accounting, and statistics classes, and did well in them.

“There’s the really competitive side of business though, the really cut-throat, interviewing, professional atmosphere, that doesn’t work as well with my personality. Once I was in that situation, I realized that maybe this wasn’t quite my thing.”

As different as the business and medical worlds appear, Rudofker has been able to find similarities between the disciplines.

“I think that medical school and a business career are both very intense atmospheres,” he said. “I don’t think I could ever be in a very slow-paced job. I just think that I fit more naturally in the role of a doctor.”

Rudofker says he is a little behind in the pre-med track, and will graduate with six science courses out of the eight needed to qualify to take the Medical College Admission Test. He plans to work at VCU Medical Center this summer and then take a few years to finish the remaining courses and get work experience.

“After that, I go to school for way too long, and there you go, I’m a doctor,” he said, laughing.

If Rudofker’s schedule wasn’t already busy enough with a senior recital to prepare and recording sessions for his acapella the group, “The Octaves”, to attend, he received an interesting invitation three days before his recital.

“I got a call from family friend Peter Groverman, a law student at Villanova, who I knew was getting together a relief trip to go to Haiti. He said, ‘There’s a 300 person waiting list to get on this plane, and I want you to come with me.’”

Groverman gave Rudofker two hours to figure it all out. At first, he wasn’t sold on the idea.

“There was so much going on, my life was so hectic, I just didn’t think I could drop everything for a week and go,” he said.

Alex Mae Carrier, ’13, was there when Rudofker got the call, and asked him, “What are you doing? How can you say that?”

Two hours later, Rudofker called Groverman and gave him his and Carrier’s passport numbers, and they both went on the trip.

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized there was no way I couldn’t take advantage of this opportunity,” Rudofker said. “But the next two months, including the trip, were such an intense period.

“We went with 126 people from all over the country. We called ourselves ‘The RELIEF Foundation.’ We met in a Miami Airport with 28,000 pounds of supplies—it took an entire day to fill the plane. After some delays, we landed at about midnight in Haiti. We arrived at the orphanage we were staying in, built a sort of tent city, and by 4 a.m. we were asleep. At 7 a.m., we were up working.”

For more information about Rudofker’s trip to Haiti, read Fred Shaia’s article from The Collegian.

“There’s so much psychological distress coming back from a trip like that,” Rudofker said. “That was really too difficult to deal with when we got back. Even though we weren’t behind in schoolwork, it was stressful.

“When you’re there, it’s so intense, you never even think about what’s going on. You take it all in, see all those sights, all these things, interact with all these people. There are these emotional elements that come with changing people’s lives, and often you aren’t able to realize what’s going on until days or even weeks later.”

And changing people’s lives seems to have changed Rudofker’s forever. From business to music and now to medicine, he’ll always have plenty of outlets.

“I’ll always be able to spend a weekend singing with a local choir when I feel like it,” Rudofker said. “I’ll always be able to drop everything and go to Haiti for a week. The great thing about being a doctor is that you can be a doctor anywhere in the world.

“It’s another inspiring part to the job. It doesn’t even matter what kind of doctor you are, you’re needed somewhere. That provides a lot of really cool opportunity.”

Another reason behind Rudofker’s career choice?

“Oh, and when you’re a doctor, you get to wear your pajamas to work every day,” Rudokfer said, grinning.