Big Brothers changes two lives

When Bruce Beck ’68 was a law student at the University of Minnesota, his wife, Lynne Richards Beck ’68, came home one day with an idea she got from a poster she saw on a bus. That night she urged him to get his nose out of his books and volunteer as a Big Brother.

Dr. Mark Kassebaum '82 and his Big Brother Bruce Beck '68 in 1973.
Dr. Mark Kassebaum ’82 and his Big Brother Bruce Beck ’68 in 1973.

“A few weeks later I received a call from Big Brothers Big Sisters stating that they had found a great kid for me,” he says. “In time, I would realize what an understatement that was.” He recalls his Little Brother, Mark, as very quiet. Bruce, Lynne, and his parents and brothers quickly accepted Mark as part of the family. Mark was a good runner and a good student. As he got older, Mark was determined to attend the University of Notre Dame. He was accepted, but couldn’t afford tuition. Eventually he told Beck he wanted to go to his college.

So Beck brought Mark to visit Cornell. Mark was accepted and given a major scholarship. He became the star runner on the Rams cross country team and majored in chemistry. When he decided to apply for medical school, Beck’s brother, Dr. David Beck ’74, a faculty member at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, encouraged Mark to apply there. He did, and today Dr. Mark Kassebaum ’82 is the head anesthesiologist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

“Mark and I have been together through joyful and difficult times,” says Beck, the father of Lauren Beck ’05. “We’ve mourned the passing of my father and his mother. I was there when he married his wonderful wife. He was there for the weddings of my own daughters. Being a Big Brother has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.”