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Michael Martinez Named Dean of First-Year Students

Haverford College is pleased to announce that Michael Martinez, currently associate dean at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, has been appointed to succeed Raisa Williams as Dean of First-Year Students starting July 1.

Martinez has worked at Bates since 2010 when he was hired to serve as assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs and associate dean of multicultural enrollment. In that role, he was actively involved in first-year orientation, creating a new orientation program specifically for underrepresented students. He also supervised dormitories and student-life programming, played an active role in academic advising and helped coordinate academic support services. His portfolio over the last three years has most specifically focused on supporting and promoting greater academic success among first-generation and underrepresented students at Bates. In the present academic year, he has also served as interim director of the Office of Intercultural Education.

“Thrilled and honored are the first words that come to mind,” says Martinez of his new appointment. “The Haverford administration, really the entire community, seems incredibly warm and supremely dedicated to the mission of excellence in the liberal arts. I count myself lucky to become part of so talented and passionate a group!”

Prior to joining the administration at Bates, Martinez, who graduated with degrees in philosophy and religion from Princeton University, worked as a reporter for his hometown newspaper in Wichita Falls, Texas, before being recruited to serve as the first full-time college advisor for the Academic Success Program (ASP), the successor organization to the initiative that had helped prepare him successfully to become the first in his family to attend college. He was appointed ASP’s director of operations in 2007 and executive director in 2008, overseeing an operation with eight employees that served 3000 high school students.

“My own transition to college was a difficult one, and I get true professional and personal fulfillment out of helping students find happiness and success during their first year,” says Martinez, whose role at Haverford will be acting as the primary advising resource for the more than 300 first-year students. “But whether their transition to college is difficult or easy, the first year is for all students about exploring the world, their identity, and figuring out for themselves what it means to be a Ford and a citizen of the larger world. The first year of college is often one of the most pivotal, defining, and redefining experiences in an individual’s life. It is an honor to play even a small role in that experience.”

Martinez is currently nearing completion of his M.B.A. at Babson College and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Maine Humanities Council since 2010, for which he served on a variety of committees, including programming, financial oversight and personnel.

In all of his work, Martinez has been inspired by a dedicated high school counselor who urged him “to dream bigger” and set the stage for what had seemed unimaginable—his admission to Princeton.  He is, in his own words, “driven by a love of working with students, a deep appreciation for diversity and a belief in the power of a liberal arts education.”

Martinez will inherit a strong foundation from Raisa Williams, the first person to hold the position of first-year dean, and he will be able to continue the process of evolving Haverford’s academic support system for first-year students of all backgrounds.

“I am so excited to share my own first year at Haverford with the Class of 2017,” he says. “We will explore this amazing place together, and it should be a great adventure for all of us.”


The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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