Bursaries helped Mark Cho when he needed it most, now he’s returning the favour

This Giving Day, your generosity helps students reach their potential

Nate Lam - 9 May 2022

Mark Cho, ’92 BScPT, has been busy since graduating from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. The entrepreneurial physical therapy graduate has done everything from starting his own clinic, pt Health—which has grown to become one of the biggest in Canada—to building successful ventures in traffic management and landscaping. Now he’s ready for a new challenge, and he’s returning to his U of A roots to find it.

“Everything I have now started with being part of a great faculty that allowed me to get to the career I have today,” says Cho. As the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine’s first Donor Challenge, he’s giving back to his alma mater with a generous gift that will be ‘unlocked’ if 75 people donate to the faculty during the U of A’s inaugural Giving Day event on May 10. Donations will support emergency bursaries for rehabilitation medicine students in financial need. 

As an immigrant from Korea who came to Canada with very little money, Cho says this initiative has personal meaning for him. Recalling his early days as a physical therapy student, he remembers stretching to make every dollar count, and depending on scholarships and bursaries just to survive. “I haven’t forgotten what it was like to live off of instant noodles for a week then cheese pizzas the next,” he says. “So when I was presented with the opportunity to give back to students in similar situations, I wanted to help as much as I could.”.

Cho hopes his Donor Challenge inspires those he’s built relationships with over the last 20 years to join him in supporting students in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. “I would like to challenge physiotherapists who have worked for me or for pt Health, as well as my classmates, faculty, staff and those involved in the projects I’m still involved in today to donate what they can to this great cause.”

These days, Cho only eats instant noodles and pizza when he wants to. He issues this challenge to give back to the next generation of rehabilitation professionals so they, too, can thrive rather than struggle. 

You can make a difference by promoting and sharing the UofA Giving Day link with your classmates, colleagues, staff, family and friends. Together we can do this! Thank you for helping us meet our goal of 75 donations in order to unlock Mark Cho’s Challenge Gift. 

If you would like to discuss other ways to support the next generation of rehabilitation professionals, please contact John Voyer at jvoyer@ualberta.ca.