A graduate of the class of 2000, Major John H. Mark Jr., United States Army JAG attorney and honoree of the distinguished Bronze Star Medal, is the namesake for the recently created Major John H. Mark Jr. Manhattan College Study Abroad Scholarship Fund.
The young and awe-inspiring Queens native passed away suddenly on Sept. 4, 2015.
While at Manhattan, Mark was fully involved on campus participating in many Manhattan College Players productions, being a member of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, as well as being awarded the Manhattan College Gunn Award. After graduation, Major Mark returned to Manhattan as the Director of Residence Life for two years.
Following his time as Director of Residence Life, Major Mark attended St. John’s University School of Law for his law degree in 2003. It was after his time at St. John’s that he decided he wanted to give back to his country and join the United States Army.
Major Mark progressed in the Army by becoming a JAG attorney at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and then to a trial defense counsel in Kuwait and Afghanistan and later at The Pentagon working in Knowledge Management.
Following his death, his parents John Sr. and Angela both Manhattan Alumni, decided they wanted to give back to the Manhattan community and honor their son. They created the Major John H. Mark, Jr. Manhattan College Study Abroad Scholarship Fund “to honor John’s extraordinary spirit of adventure by encouraging productive exploration among young scholars,” John Sr. said.
John and Angela felt passionate about creating their scholarship because of Major Mark’s time studying abroad at Oxford University where he rowed on the crew team, played rugby and belonged to the Oxford Union, the debating society of the university.
“He really benefited from the study abroad and enjoyed the experience even though he lived on Roman Noodles while there. We thought it was an appropriate way to keep his spirit and memory alive at a place that he loved,” John Sr. said of his son’s time at Oxford.
The first awardee of the scholarship, Junior Paulina Ochoa-Figueroa is currently spending her spring semester in Madrid, Spain and said, “I am truly blessed and happy for the opportunity that they are giving me, and I am also grateful that I can continue with the legacy of John H. Mark in this way.”
Kevin Gschwend, Coordinator of Study Abroad said, “(The Mark’s) felt the same way about how study abroad impacts students and what a transformative experience it can be, so they felt the best way to celebrate his life and commemorate it , was to do it through a scholarship that encourages other students to study abroad.”
A benefit to raise money for the scholarship will be held on April 17 titled, “Broadway Comes to Woodside” at the Corpus Christi Church in Woodside, Queens that will feature seven Broadway performers.
As for the future of the scholarship, John H. Mark Sr. said, “we hope it becomes the most prestigious scholarship at the school.”