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February Donor of the Month– Dr. Chris Gostout ’72

Thank you Chris for Participating in the Monthly Giving Program

From the Villanova Main Line to the Wilds of Minnesota’s North Country -

Why so? The answer is as clear as a mid-winter morning- cold and snow. Lots of it. This was a daydream ‘72 Villanova A&S Biology major Chris Gostout had as he looked out from a hallway window in Saint Mary’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic, one summer day while he was a visiting medical student sub-intern in the mid 70’s. And here is how this story unfolds.

The now semi-retired gastroenterologist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota grew up on Staten Island, where he attended Monsignor Farrell High School for boys, a brand new school graduating its first class when he was a freshman. As far back as he could remember, he wanted to be a physician and loved the winter. After attending a student candidate parent weekend pre-med presentation in Mendel Hall by the late Dr. Horowitz, Villanova appealed to him as offering an opportunity to allow his aspirations to come true and enter medical school.

After four years of a valuable Villanova education and more than memorable personal experiences, a transition was made to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn. This medical school was strongly recommended by Villanova microbiology professor, the late Dr. Way, and turned out to a perfect choice, having offered an incredible education and clinical experience. After “Downstate” and that summer Mayo Clinic sub-internship, our Villanova graduate returned to the Mayo Clinic in 1976 for a residency in Internal Medicine and subsequent fellowship in Gastroenterolgy.

During his subsequent 33 year full time career at Mayo, Dr. Gostout became a world recognized expert in interventional endoscopy, inventor of new minimally invasive tools and procedures, and President of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

But what does this have to do with cold and snow? The medical student daydream was a vision of the northern wilderness area of Minnesota, referred to as the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area (BWCA) which he had heard so much about as an outdoor temple of tranquility, nature, and abundant wildlife, but not the summertime canoeist and fisherman’s paradise.

It was the silent pristine beauty of the winter scape that was alluring to him. Dr. Gostout did enjoy visiting the BWCA in the summer for weeks at a time with his wife, Bobbie, but winter was a special time of the year. He became a cross-country ski enthusiast.

His love of the North country led to acquiring lakeside property along the edge of the BWCA, 400 miles from the family home in Rochester, secluded, and off the grid. In the winter he can be found there only by his tracks, both ski and snow shoe, leading from his cabin for miles and hours deep into the forests where he has observed moose, cougar, and wolves in the otherwise silent beauty of the winter snow. One of the most favorite images in is mind’s eye is of the snow covering the deeply frozen lake, sparkling in the mid-morning sun. These are common to him while relaxing at the end of the day in his wood-fired sauna.

Chris lives in the country outside of Rochester where he maintains and grooms 6 miles of private cross country ski trails. His wife, Bobbie, is from Rollingstone, Minnesota, a gynecologic oncology surgeon and one of Mayo Clinic’s Vice Presidents. They have three sons.

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