College of Idaho junior Patrick Mark sees medical school, owning a medical practice in his future

Patrick Mark loved growing up and attending a small, private school and is currently enjoying a similar experience at the College of Idaho. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the Eagle native has his sights set on living and working in a small, rural Idaho community as a physician.

Mark recently completed his sophomore year of college. He is attending the College of Idaho on a Heritage Scholarship that was funded by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. Heritage Scholars are awarded to highly qualified students with exceptional intellectual ability. They are a part of the school’s Gipson Honors Program, which is described as an intimate and cohesive community of about 90 students.

“Patrick Mark is easily among the very best students and most remarkable people I have encountered in more than 30 years as a professor, dean, and provost,” said David Douglass, Provost and Dean of the Faculty at College of Idaho. “He combines hard-wired intelligence with an amazing work ethic, and ties it all together with empathy, kindness, and compassion. And did I mention his wickedly funny sense of humor?”

Patrick Mark is congratulated by Provost and Dean of Faculty David Douglass (right) and Vice President of Enrollment Management Brian Bava after accepting a scholarship from the College of Idaho.

Mark has accomplished and been active since enrolling at the C of I in Caldwell, chairing or leading many student organizations. He established a cooking club and has been twice elected to serve on the school’s student senate. He is majoring in business administration and biomedical sciences with his sights set on medical school.

“I absolutely love the College of Idaho,” Mark said. “There are so many people who care about me there who are really fighting for me as much as I’m fighting for myself. It’s awesome to grow up in a community that cares about me.”


He had a similar experience at Riverstone International School in Boise, where he attended from kindergarten through high school and earned a full International Baccalaureate diploma. While there, Mark established the school’s environment club, worked with others to create a composting program and was captain of the basketball team. He also enhanced his culinary skills and got his pilot’s license in his spare time.

Douglass recalls talking with faculty at Riverstone about Mark. “One of them said, ‘By the ninth grade, Patrick was already the person I hope to someday become.”

Mark isn’t sure exactly what the future looks like, but he has an idea. He reminds anyone who asks of his future plans that nothing is set in stone and his experiences and education may change his goals.

“I definitely have an interest in running my own medical practice and hopefully in a rural community in Idaho,” Mark said. “I want to tie my interest in business with my health interests and help people in Idaho. That’s the goal, but in what exact form or how that will look, I don’t know.”

Mark is a first-generation college student and is thankful for his parents motivating him to think big in his education and career goals.

Patrick Mark is an active volunteer in the community. He helped pass out candy during a trunk-or-treat event on the College of Idaho campus.

“They pushed me into doing something purposeful in my life and to find something I enjoy and care about,” Mark said. “Throughout time, I developed an interest in medicine. I really care about my parents and want them to stay healthy. The thing that really drives me is wanting to keep older people healthy.”


Mark recently completed the first phase of an internship at Blue Cross of Idaho, where he observed and met leaders from different areas in the company. He said there were two major takeaways from his internship, healthcare is complex and there are people working hard to make it more affordable. Mark will resume his internship this fall.

“When I used to think of healthcare, it was that I go to the doctor and then I go home and end of story,” he said. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg. This whole system of healthcare and health insurance – I find it so wild and love how complex it is.

“What I love about Blue Cross of Idaho is that the employees are fighting to make healthcare affordable. Sure, you hear people saying that, but I genuinely have seen every department do that. All of these people are working to make healthcare more affordable in Idaho, and I really appreciate that.”

The faculty at the C of I are eager to see what Mark accomplishes in the next two years.

“It has been a rare pleasure to observe Patrick’s trajectory and contribute even in small ways to his development,” Douglass said. “It’s a bit like watching a comet streak through the night sky — dazzling, spectacular, and humbling all at once.”

“Patrick Mark represents an ideal sort of college student,” said Rochelle Johnson, Director of the Honors Program at the C of I. “His interests are varied and rich, his intellectual ambitions are high, and he is deeply interested in being challenged as a thinker. It’s not every day that you meet a student who became a chef so that he can cook healthy meals for his family, a pilot so he can experience soaring above the world, and a founder of one of his school’s environmental organization, who also has a stellar record of academic performance.”