Thomas A. Martin '14

Thomas Martin

Thomas Martin says that he chose Southwestern because he "did not want to attend a university where he was just going to be another statistic." Disliking the atmosphere of anonymity at the large high school from which he graduated, Thomas wanted to be viewed as an individual; to have an opportunity to express himself. As a business major and Spanish minor, he found many avenues outside of class to engage his interests and display his talents. Thomas served on both Student Congress and University Programming Council, played on the men's tennis team and volunteered as a Spanish tutor.

Currently, Thomas works as an Austin-based marketer with BioTrust, and believes that Southwestern was instrumental in shaping the person he is today. In fact, he says that without attending Southwestern, "I probably wouldn't have learned half the things I know now." Thomas also learned that it's not so bad to be a specific type of statistic—namely, the youngest member of Southwestern's 1840 Society—if it helps the institution so important to him. The 1840 Society was established to recognize alumni, parents, faculty and friends who have included the university in their estate plans or made other planned-giving arrangements that benefit Southwestern. Thomas was motivated to make his planned gift to the university because he wanted to ensure that his money "would go to the best, right place," and that while he likes to give on an annual basis also, he felt that making his alma mater a beneficiary of his 401k plan allows Southwestern to receive a larger gift than he might otherwise be able to make.

To be recognized as the youngest 1840 Society member feels strange to Thomas, but he believes that people his age just aren't prepared to make decisions about future gifts. "They aren't thinking about that stage of life yet, and it simply doesn't occur to them to consider a planned gift." But Thomas hopes that his gift decision can change these statistics, too. "I can't believe that no one's ever done this at my age. I hope this can be the beginning of something new and that we can lay the foundation for other young members to join." Thomas encourages recent alumni to match him in what he calls the "honor" of planning for Southwestern's future today.

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