Giving back to Brown University can be deeply personal for many Brunonians. From current students to alumni to parents, each has their own reason for why they give that is uniquely theirs.
But Marco Martinez ’84 didn’t have a reason—he had two. His Brown experience was punctuated with a pair of life-altering moments that he’s unsure would have been possible anywhere else.
The first set him on the path to a dream career. The other helped him come out himself as a gay man. When he and husband Tom Styer began thinking about their estate, Martinez knew he wanted to create a planned gift to Brown that would honor both moments.
Where he belonged
Martinez had applied to 32 schools, including other Ivy League institutions, but Brown had set itself apart as the perfect option for him.
“Several deans from Brown called me in Bolivia welcoming me to Brown,” says Martinez. “It was such a personal touch. That really convinced me that Brown was where I belonged.”
College Hill was a long way from home for Martinez, who grew up in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. The first time he set foot on campus was as a first-year student two weeks before the start of classes. To help ease the transition to college life in a new country, Brown had invited him and several other international students to come to campus before the start of the semester.
“Brown will always be close to my heart,” says Martinez. “It was so welcoming to me as a foreigner and as a minority. There weren’t many Latin students back then, and we stood out. Despite that, I always felt part of the community and valued as an individual.”
A tale of two summers
His first year was coming to a close. He was days away from traveling to Greece for an archaeological dig with the Egyptology Department when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called. Before coming to Brown, he had—at the insistence of his parents—submitted an employment application to the IMF. Since he was just about to start his studies at Brown and had no work experience, he figured his chances were slim—even for one of the 12 internships that the IMF offered each year. Now, months later, they wanted to schedule a phone interview.
Martinez doesn’t remember the exact details of that discussion, but he apparently impressed his interviewer. Minutes later, they called back offering him a paid internship. While a summer in Greece sounded appealing, an internship at the IMF was far more aligned with his studies in applied math.
“That was a turning point for my education, my career, my whole life,” says Martinez. “Brown was one of the key reasons why they took an interest in me and what helped me get my foot in the door.”
That summer internship would grow into a decades-long career in the statistical and economic areas at the international organization. So impressed with his work and performance, the IMF continued to bring Martinez back for contract work during his winter and summer breaks. When he graduated from Brown, he began working full-time at the IMF, where he would stay until his retirement in 2017.