Of the many college graduates living in Brown County, there are very few who have attended an Ivy League school. Chatfield College graduate Martin Smith however, is one of those few.
At the age of 19, Martin first enrolled at Chatfield College. With his first child on the way, he was only able to finish one year before he made the decision to drop out and focus more on being a father. As he was taking on the new role of being a father and having a full-time job, there was not enough time to fit college responsibilities into his busy schedule.
At 30 years old, Martin was divorced, had two children, and had worked several jobs along the way to support his family. Despite his last attempt, he decided to enroll at Chatfield for a second time – and this time he wanted to make it count. He began taking classes during the summer, some of which included enrichment courses and tennis lessons. He was a member of Chatfield’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges, and became an alumni fellow in the development department, and was a part of the student leadership club.
“I decided to come back, I fell in love with Chatfield and the rest is history,” Martin said.
With his rigorous studies, Martin was able to finish his Associate’s degree from Chatfield in 2015. Deciding to further his education, he wanted to aim high in the choice of his next school. A close friend and classmate, Jade, was applying to Columbia University in New York City, so he decided to apply there as well. In total, he applied to 58 different schools and was accepted into 41 of them. He was accepted into three different Ivy League Schools – the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Brown.
Although Columbia had been his dream, he decided to attend Penn, where he received a better financial aid package. Martin paved his way to success and graduated with his Master’s degree in English Literature in 2017. He credits Chatfield in helping him succeed in an Ivy League setting. Because Chatfield had small classes, he was able to get the attention that he needed in order to thrive academically.
He is currently working on getting his second Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston. He ultimately wants to earn his PhD somewhere along the line to continue his academic career. Since he has left Chatfield, Martin has been successful in other ways as well. His children Nicholas and Leah are now attending school at Western Brown, where he believes they are full of potential. He has published a total of eight books – five local history books, two children’s books, and a novel. Martin is currently pursuing the idea of a book that involves the history of Chatfield College in Brown County.
He recently visited the St. Martin campus as a pit-stop along the way during his current book tour. This was a great opportunity to catch up with past professors, advisors, and other people he met along the way during his time at Chatfield. He began reflecting on his time spent at this campus and how much Chatfield meant to him. Being able to come back to the place that shaped him as a student has made him become even more appreciative of the beauty of Chatfield.
“Don’t sell yourself short. Do what you believe is right for you, because you are capable of doing anything you want. Chatfield can provide you with a great opportunity to succeed – just like it did for me.”