A reception honoring longtime International Place director Charlene Martin, who is retiring after 32 years of service at The Claremont Colleges, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 at McKenna Auditorium. The event is open to The Claremont Colleges community and friends of international students.
The venue is synonymous with many of the I-Place events and activities that Martin has overseen over the past three decades, including Sunday suppers, Thursday lunch discussions, graduation buffets, and International Festival staging. "So many of our events have been hosted at McKenna Auditorium that people may not realize the difference between McKenna and I-Place," says Assistant Director of International Place Donald Delgado.
Friday's event will include refreshments, student and community speakers, and a slide show.
Delgado, who has worked with Martin for two years, calls his colleague "incredibly dedicated, someone with a remarkable sense of the International Place mission in terms of bringing people together, helping them, interacting with them, and creating an environment where they interact with each other.
"That is a trait that drives her, and it has for the last 30-plus years," says Delgado. "What is crucial to this job is the caring nature that Charlene haswanting to learn, having a commitment to global friendships as well as the belief that those global relationships extend beyond us. Charlene has all of that."
Delgado, who has been named to replace Martin as I-Place director, says the rapport between them often includes finishing each other's sentences. "It's very much a left-hand/right-hand dynamic," he says. "The work here is very tangible. We have events, projects; we produce things. We assist students from step A to finding a resolution, and I think we have really complemented each other in that regard."
Student Marya Husain '09, who refers to Martin as "my mother away from home," says that "being close to her is like knowing that no matter what you do and how you choose to do it, she will support you and encourage you to the end.
"Charlene really knows how to treat her I-Place children like adults," Husain says. "She was very skillful at delegating tasks to the international students like me, especially during big events such as I-Place lunches, I-Festivals and I-Banquets, which inevitably built my confidence, helped me to adjust to the new environment quicker, and made me feel like a contributing member of the community."
I-Place, a multicultural center for The Claremont Colleges, offers a variety of services for international students, scholars, and faculty, as well as educational programs and cultural events for the entire community.
For more information about I-Place and its mission, visit: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/about/tour/iplace.php.