Patrick Cullinan was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps when he knew he wanted a different career.
“I sat down and listed four important ‘goals and interests,’” he said. “When I reviewed these, they guided me to medicine.”
Having grown up in Lombard with a father who was a dentist, Cullinan was familiar with College of DuPage and decided to complete a few courses before transferring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He ended up finishing nearly two years of credit in 12 months and was honored on the National Dean’s List.
“I felt that COD offered me the best opportunity to build a foundation that would springboard me to U of I and eventually medical school,” he said. “The class sizes were very personal. I was able to grow and mature with the guidance of my caring and dedicated professors. In addition, the gym and library were ideal for me to refresh and rejuvenate in between classes.”
Cullinan’s accomplishments are many: two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Illinois with cum laude honors; a Doctorate of Osteopathy degree from Midwestern University – Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating fourth in his class and specializing in three medical areas; inducted as a Fellow of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine and the American College of Internists; and medical director for Centene, a Fortune 500 company providing services to government-sponsored health care programs focusing on under-insured and uninsured people. He also was part of a medical team that helped more than 2,000 people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cullinan has tirelessly performed critical care work in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas. He works at two separate hospital emergency rooms and took a part-time position at the local medical school and university hospital serving as a Neurosurgical Intensivist. He also serves on medical advisory boards for a private school (pre-kindergarten through high school) as well as the public school district.
Cullinan, who was named one of College of DuPage’s Distinguished Alumni, advises students considering COD to never worry about what others will think.
“Work as hard as you can and believe in yourself. Make the most out of your given situation,” he said. “You may not be the smartest person at your college or university, but you can control being the most driven and dedicated. You can outwork the masses.
“Be grateful for your family and friends who stand beside you and sometimes behind you pushing to get you to your ultimate goal. Get an education – it is the only thing that can’t be taken from you. Worry less about what you want to do and more about what you don’t want to do for the rest of your life.”