It All Started Here… Mark Mortenson
NORTH EAST, Md. – Mark Mortenson is a visionary when it comes to Cecil County. Within this vision, there are institutions that really matter. The school system matters, Cecil College matters, the hospital matters, and the county’s government matters. All of these institutions have to be working in sync to have a healthy community.
But unlike many visionaries, Mortenson is willing to work and invest to ensure the betterment of everyone within the community. As a member of the Board of Trustees at Cecil College, he is applying his influence to help others.
“Everything I do is an attempt to help my neighbor. No matter where they live, everyone within Cecil County is my neighbor, and we should be working to improve their lives. To that end, it is a recognition of how important the college is, not only for students but the county. If the college is healthy and doing its job, the county will be healthier,” said Mortenson.
Mortenson is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Clene Nanomedicine, which developed the Clean-Surface Nanosuspension technology platform. Clene Nanomedicine is in the process of developing a solution for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) having completed the first round of an FDA human clinical trial.
Mortenson earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and ceramic engineering at Alfred University, where he graduated cum laude in both fields. He went on for an M.S. degree in materials science at Pennsylvania State University before completing his J.D. degree at George Washington University.
With all of his education, it wasn’t until 1987 when he took a class at Cecil College that he was thunderstruck with an “ah ha” moment. It was in a technology certificate course when he realized everyone else in the class was there because they needed the accreditation for their employment.
“That was the eye-opener. These were my neighbors in the community who needed this course for their livelihoods. These weren’t students who would move out of state afterward. They stayed right here, and the work they were doing makes our community better,” said Mortenson, who gained a better understanding of the power of a community college. As he ran into his classmates at the grocery store and developed relationships, he could see the power of education as life-altering opportunities at Cecil College.
“The college is super important for the county because the county’s residents are your neighbors. If you can make the college better, your neighbors are better as is the community,” said Mortenson. He feels the purpose of Cecil College goes beyond education, but as improving the county as a whole.
As Cecil College celebrates its 50th anniversary, Mortenson is the chair of the Cecil College Foundation’s campaign of inspiration with a goal of raising $1.5 million in support of student success. Throughout his career, he has been asked to become involved with other institutions, but it wasn’t until he was asked to provide insight and inspiration at Cecil College that he found the opportunity to make the local community a better living and working environment.
“Cecil College is providing a betterment for the person down the street or within your family. These are the people in your life. It is not like a four-year college where the person is from another state. You are making the area around you a better place to live for not only yourself but everyone within the community,” said Mortenson.
Mortenson is very connected to the community having lived in Cecil County for more than 30 years. He currently resides in North East with his wife Julianna, where they raised four children.
“When talking about Cecil College, I am most proud of the number of people who are touched by the teachers and the infrastructure. Every teacher is here because they love teaching. I am also proud of the campus as it needs to look good to attract quality people and students. Campus appearance is important,” said Mortenson. “For a small campus, we have lots of subjects, and there is no complacency in how we can make it better.”
Going forward, Mortenson aims to help the college connect with businesses within the county to help with training that in the end will drive the economy.