Sidebar Site Navigation
Mark D. Jenkins - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Sciences - 1983 - Philosophy
Master of Arts - 1986 - Geography
Mark Jenkins is a striking example, in spirit and in deed, of what a liberal education can produce. Armed with an unlikely mix of philosophy and geography degrees, followed by a career in adventure, exploration and writing, Jenkins has met life's challenges -- and devised-a few of his own -- a trip up Mt. Everest, or his 7000-mile bicycle trip across the then-Soviet Union, a first. He chronicled his experiences in a highly acclaimed book, Off the Map.
He says he left UW with "the ability to perform critical, rigorous thinking, the ability to question, to synthesize, and, at rare special times, to struggle beyond convention and thereby discover the truth for myself." Currently a free-lance writer with hundreds of articles in national and international travel and adventure magazines to his credit, he is a contributing editor to Bicycling magazine and Rocky Mountain editor of Backpacking magazine. He was editor-in-chief of Cross Country Ski magazine. A lasting memory is of Dr. Richard Howey's introductory philosophy class. "The first day, he turned to us and began in a deep, hoarse voice: 'What if, at your death, a phantom appeared at the foot of your bed and declared that you must relive your life exactly as you had lived it, over and over into eternity. Every minute. Every sorrow. Every loss. Every unfulfilled dream. Would you declare this phantom a God-sent angel, or an evil messenger from the Devil himself!' We were baffled. Howey lowered his eyes on us. 'I suggest that if you had struggled, suffered, scrabbled and kicked, had hand-to-hand combat with life's great questions and in that fight experienced but one eternal moment, a moment so implacable and inexorable and rich and omniscient that in a flash you glimpsed even the smallest piece of the meaning of it all, this phantom would be a genuine angel.' Then, quoting Kierkegaard, he roared, 'Man does not die with deliberation, but from deliberation!'"