Since I was at Evergreen while Mark was at City, I never got to know him until a group of us faculty members from both colleges finally got around to creating a new iteration of our faculty union. When that happened, Mark and I had what seemed like endless talks, endless meetings, and endless attendance at conferences. I came to learn that Mark was a respected biologist, a beloved teacher, a super husband, and a highly respected colleague among his faculty peers, all appropriate qualities for any friend or leader.
What really drew me to Mark, though, the things that I most appreciated, were his honesty, his courage, his winning smile and sense of humor, his enormous intelligence, his ever-present kind concern for others—all tied together by his genuine humility. When Mark entered a room, those qualities enshrouded his imposing stature, making him like some kind of gigantic magnetic force field. Mark was a joy to be around and proved to be the kind of leader we needed at the time. He was a benevolent, gentle giant who compelled both opponents and supporters, alike, to instinctively find a middle ground when they might have otherwise chosen an argument. Mark always focused on right and wrong based on genuine values when facing a potential challenge. He always sought unity. He was always smarter than his opponents with an intelligence that granted them the saving of face. Like everyone else, I simply loved the guy in a way that never wavered. The world has lost a force of nature in a time when we really need such special models. Mark, may you rest in peace.