Though your professors may reign supreme in the lecture hall, you’re probably not too intimidated by them outside of the classroom. You might pale in comparison in a matchup of intellect, but you’d probably feel confident in your ability to sucker-punch them for that inordinately difficult question on that last midterm. Surely your stereotype of most people in academia follows the Einstein model — diminutive in stature and somewhat reserved when it comes to physical confrontation. But if there were a perfect exception to this rule, it would be our very own computer science professor David Patterson.
You may not have noticed because of the concealing suits and loose-fitting t-shirts he wears, but this guy is buff. To what extent, you ask? Oh, just enough to win the state championships for powerlifting. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that he can’t be a nerd as well. The UCLA grad has been affiliated with Cal since the ’80s, serving as the chair of the ridiculously competitive computer science department and as a member of a Presidential Committee for Information Technology.
But enough about how smart he is, maybe you’d like to know more about the brawny side of professor Patterson. He was the top fundraiser for Bike MS — a biking charity event — for six consecutive years, which netted a cool $200,000 for victims of multiple sclerosis. In his latest powerlifting exploit, he totaled 620 pounds in three lifts, which was good enough to set the state record for men of his age and weight class.
He came to the competition assuming that he could simply do the bench press — apparently his forte — but he was required to participate in the squat and deadlift as well. The professor, who bears some resemblance to Charles Xavier of “X-Men” sans the wheelchair, took this in stride and completed every task put in front of him. In his recap of the RAW competition, he said that the motivation came from trying to “avoid public humiliation.” We’d say he managed to do that pretty darn well.
So the next time you consider flipping out on a professor because of some preconceived notion that he or she isn’t going to put you in your place, remember that this Professor X — yeah, he might as well be a superhero — can lift you and three of your friends and fling you out of the classroom.