Richard Auhll

Honoring SEE’s Former Board Member


The SEE team would like to honor and commemorate long-time supporter and friend, Richard Auhll, who passed away recently on September 6th, 2023.

Trained as an aerospace engineer, Richard Auhll earned a BSE at the University of Michigan, an MS in engineering at Stanford University, and an MBA at Harvard University. In his early career, he served as a rocket systems engineer and program development manager with United Technologies Corporation.

After graduating from Harvard in 1969, he decided not to return to the aerospace industry. He invented a color video system for surgery in 1972 and founded Circon Corporation, a surgical equipment manufacturer based in Santa Barbara, California. Circon became the largest U.S. producer of medical endoscope and video systems, and Auhll ran the company until departing in 1998. He received the Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Institute of American Entrepreneurs in 1992.

In 1999, he sold his company and assumed the chairmanship of the board of trustees of the University of California-Santa Barbara Foundation. His commitment to engineering education was particularly strong, as demonstrated by his participation on the President’s Engineering Advisory Council for all campuses of the University of California. He was also a member of the University of Michigan College of Engineering National Advisory Committee, and in 2020, he was the recipient of the Honorary Alumnus Award from the UCSB Alumni Association.

Richard served on SEE’s Board of Directors from 1998-2003, acting as the Chairman of the Board for one year in 2001. Even after stepping down as a Board member, Richard continued to be a generous supporter of SEE who remained passionate about our mission to end preventable blindness. The SEE team is saddened by his passing, but celebrates his remarkable achievements and commends his actions as a kind-hearted, giving man who deeply cared for others during his lifetime.


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