The Catholic University of America

May 12, 2012

Catholic University Is a Family Affair for the Martins

  Martin Family

Clare Martin (front row, left) and her family

When Clare Martin of Garrett Park, Md., stood Saturday, May 12, to receive her Bachelor of Philosophy degree, she had her own group of CUA alumni cheering her on — her family.

Witnessing Clare’s achievement was Clare’s father and mother, George J. Martin (B.S. Arch. 1987, M.Arch. 1989) and Conn Lee-Martin (B.A. 1987), as well as her grandfather, George C. Martin Jr. (B.Arch. 1959), and brother George, a CUA sophomore majoring in philosophy. Also on hand were her grandmothers, Anne Martin and Ling Lee, and younger brothers Patrick and Quinn.

The Martins are a CUA family in the truest sense. Clare’s parents met here. “I am grateful to CUA for my wife,” George Martin said. “Conn converted to Catholicism shortly after graduating CU after which her mom did and then her dad. She has been an inspiring witness to the faith, and Clare takes very much after her.”

Prior to commencement, they all gathered at the Alumni Parent Champagne Breakfast, which was sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations. The breakfast was held on the Pryzbyla Arbor outside the new Craves Family Alumni Center.

In addition to being alumni, three members of Clare’s family are former CUA faculty members. Her father, George, taught at the School of Architecture and Planning part time from 1990 to 2002, and full time from 2002 to 2010, serving as associate professor and associate dean of undergraduate studies.

Her paternal grandfather, George Jr., was a lecturer at the School of Engineering from 1976 to 2004 and in architecture from 2004 to 2010 and co-founder of the Construction Management Program in the engineering school. He continues as an active member of the prestigious — and oldest — alumni group at CUA, the Senators Club.

And Clare’s maternal grandfather, Che-Fu Lee, was a professor in CUA’s Department of Sociology until his death in 2005. He served as chair of the sociology department from 1984 to 1985 and again from 1996 to 2002. He was appointed director of the Life Cycle Institute (a social science research center that was renamed the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies) and served in that post from 1985 to 1988.

Clare’s mother said it is the strong interdisciplinary and faith foundation CUA provides that has made an education here a family affair. Conn Lee-Martin cited her own career path, as she went on to earn a Juris Doctor from George Washington University after graduating from CUA.

And this solid foundation is something she believes has helped each family member achieve success. Martin, her husband, and father-in-law are all active in their own businesses. Son George, a member of the class of 2014, “is the third generation to go through,” she said.

“It was his first and only choice, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps.” And continuing the family tradition of service to the community, he plans to teach inner-city children this summer.

Clare’s father said she chose CUA because she came to know the school as a child and teen, when he brought her along on freshman architecture trips. “Over the years, Clare got to know many CUA students, befriend them, and I suppose, wanted to be one of them,” he said.

She started out in biology with the intention of pursuing veterinarian science, but switched to philosophy, which gave her a solid foundation for graduate school.

Clare plans to pursue graduate studies after a year of working, said her father, using that time to “fully evaluate a choice of fields.”

“One thing we are quite sure of,” he added. “She is well prepared!”

And Clare feels the same way. She said that when it came time to choose a college, CUA was an “easy decision” for her.

“CUA has an amazing philosophy department, and I think it was truly the best major for me,” she said. “It has prepared me not for one particular discipline or career, but for whatever my next step will be. I'm proud to say that my brother George —a rising junior — is also a philosophy major.”

Her education, she added, was “framed in the context of my Catholic faith — which has helped me discover not only how to do things but also why I do them.”



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