Alumnus Doctor Partners with Benedictine College to Fight Ecosystem Collapse

When it comes to the environment, Dr. Mullins is a doer.

For Patrick Mullins, MD ’93, there are two ways to address problems when they arise in our culture and in our world.

You can try to raise awareness for the issue, or you can take actions that lead to tangible results that you can see and experience on a local level.

It’s the latter method that Patrick chose when he made a recent gift of stock to fund the pollinator ecology project at Benedictine College.

After graduating from Benedictine College in with a bachelor of arts degree in Biology and Chemistry, Patrick got his medical degree from the University of Missouri and became an anesthesiologist.

He then served for four years in the Navy Medical Corps, twice being deployed to Afghanistan with the Marines. He considers his time in the military to be the highlight of his professional career. Patrick then established his practice in the Denver, Colorado area.

While in the military, Patrick developed a real concern for the future of American culture and institutions. But it’s hard to know how to make a difference with those types of abstract concepts headon. So he focused on his other great concern — the deterioration of environmental elements that could be causing catastrophic side effects for the world and humanity — for his charitable giving with Benedictine.

“It’s like a game of Jenga,” said Patrick. “If you move one piece, you’re going to have consequences for the whole building. Same with the environment. You can’t damage one piece without having unintended consequences.”

The eradication of milkweed and other plants that pollinators depend upon as food sources have greatly reduced the population of monarch butterflies and a multitude of bee species in the Midwest. Patrick’s stock gift of $130,000 will allow the Benedictine College biology faculty and students to begin rebuilding the lost ecology through greenhouse and pollinator garden projects.

“I look at this as something tangible,” said Patrick. “We can start small. Reintroducing native plants can help stabilize the ecology. And it will encourage other people to get involved, and we’ll see where it goes.”