• Leona Martin, Ret. Professor of Spanish

April 01, 2014

When they retire, the greatest legacy professors can leave behind is the impact they’ve had on their students. The career of retiring Professor of Spanish Leona “Nonie” Martin is a case in point.

“Dr. Leona Martin has been a dedicated faculty member, particularly in the intersection between Spanish language and service in the community,” says Valerie Martin, associate provost and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “Whether working with [the student organization] HOLA or with her Spanish for the Service Professions students, she has successfully melded service learning with academics, creating meaningful opportunities for Susquehanna students to engage inside and outside of the classroom.”

During her tenure at Susquehanna, Martin has been the driving force behind the annual Latino Symposium and related initiatives highlighting bicultural interactions on campus and in the community at large. “Some 20 years ago, several Spanish professors in Susquehanna University’s Department of Modern Languages became aware of the special needs and concerns of the growing Latino population in the surrounding region. They joined with local Latinos to form a collaborative community organization, Latinos y Anglos Unidos, to seek solutions and inform the broader community about Latino culture and problems,” Martin says.

In addition to her teaching and tireless work with Latino communities in the Susquehanna Valley and beyond, Martin has mentored student-athletes as an assistant women’s golf coach. She was climbing mountains with students in South America before the Global Opportunities (GO) program existed, and to this day, she says her mother- who, at 105, still plays the hymns she learned as a child on her rgan-is her greatest inspiration. But here at Susquehanna, Martin is the inspiration.

“In all honesty, it’s hard to imagine life at SU without Professor Martin,” says Amanda Meixell, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages. “She has had an enormous impact on our students, our faculty, our department and the whole university. Her students and colleagues adore her, and while Professor Martin’s daily presence on campus will truly be missed, her mission to inform the broader community about Latino culture will live on through the many people whose lives she’s touched.”

You can help keep Martin’s legacy alive at Susquehanna by supporting the Latino Symposium. Email develop@susqu.edu or call 800-353-7970 for more details.