Gift of Property Establishes Retreat Center

A pond with home in the background
Home and barn

January 11, 2021

The Rev. Dr. Lois D. Martin ‘90 and Dr. Thomas J. Martin, MD Retreat Center offers multiple educational opportunities

Thanks to a donation of property from alumna and trustee the Rev. Dr. Lois D. ‘90, and her husband, Dr. Thomas J. Martin, MD, Susquehanna University announces it will create a retreat center named in their honor.

 “We are deeply grateful for the Martins’ generous gift to the university and are honored to recognize them for all they have done for Susquehanna and its students,” said University President Jonathan Green. “Philanthropy like this enables us to realize one of our most important aspirations, which is to make the transformative Susquehanna education attainable for students. This retreat center will serve as an inspirational place for students and faculty of varying fields to study and draw inspiration from the natural world.”

“The creation of a retreat center for Susquehanna is an honor for us and something that we are pleased to see come to fruition,” the Martins said. “We hope the property’s natural beauty, with its pond and surrounding woodlands, will encourage the students, faculty and staff who visit there to reflect on and consider life’s questions and challenges for many years to come.”

The Rev. Dr. Lois D. Martin ‘90 and Dr. Thomas J. Martin, MD Retreat Center, a 50-acre property in Cooper Township, Montour County, will be used as retreat space for the university’s academic and extracurricular programs, including for religious and spiritual life student clubs such as Susquehanna’s pre-ministry club, which offers mentorship and community to students who are considering a call to ordained ministry.

“The retreat center gives us enhanced space for gatherings, study, and small religious services, while the outdoor area is perfect for meaningful meditation,” said University Chaplain Scott Kershner. “We are grateful to the Martins for this gift and are humbled by the trust they have placed in us as stewards of their beautiful land.”

Susquehanna’s creative writing program will also make use of the property for student readings, rehearsals for choreopoem performances and for faculty members for their own writing.

The pond and the ecological diversity of the property also is appealing to students and faculty within the biology and environmental studies departments.

“The property, with its natural attributes, gives our students a unique opportunity to conduct field research in a variety of ecological settings,” said Jack Holt, professor of biology at Susquehanna. “We look forward to discovering all it has to offer.”

Plans also are underway for the property to be used for fall and spring break outdoor opportunities for international students who are unable to return home during semester breaks and as a retreat space for resident assistant training and employee team-building and leadership training.

The Martins previously endowed two professorships at Susquehanna, one in music and one in religion.

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