The Dean’s Interns took a short trip to Stokes Hall to meet with the new Dean of First-Year Students, Michael Martinez, who officially began his post today. Michael succeeds Raisa Williams, the first person to hold the position, after her many years of service. He joins us after working at Bates College for three years as the Dean of Multicultural Affairs.
Growing up in Oklahoma and Texas in small towns, Michael’s college options always seemed limited. He even mentioned that his parents moved to Texas so that he could enroll at the University of Texas-Austin and pay in-state tuition. However, a program that started at his high school expanded his horizons, and he would eventually attend Princeton University. At Princeton in his first year, Michael struggled with homesickness and the difficult academic transition. After adjusting, he enjoyed an enriching college experience.
After graduating, Michael returned to Texas to work for the same program that helped him in high school before taking the Dean of Multicultural Affairs position at Bates. He is incredibly excited to join Haverford and experience “Haverford for the first time this year in the same year that the first-year students are experiencing it.”
Michael was struck by how Haverford emphasizes “holistic education and empowering students to take on leadership roles and to define what the educational experience is here.” He views the first-year experience at Haverford as one that is “student created.” Michael aims to build strong relationships with first-years that last for all four years at Haverford and “take students in and explore Philadelphia.” At Bates, he would take students to Boston but being so close to Philadelphia, Michael wants to do this more regularly.
When asked about what advice he would give to first-year students, he stressed the fundamental importance of determining “why you’re here.” Michael mentions outside pressure from family or community can often blur the real reasons for a student to pursue college education: “It ultimately has to be about why you want to be here.” Also, he advises students, “don’t be afraid to ask for help,” whether that be from fellow classmates, professors, or upperclassmen.
Please warmly welcome Michael Martinez to Haverford. He is excited to meet all of you in the fall and work with you during your time here. His passion and exuberance for college education will surely follow him to Haverford when first-year students arrive on August 28.