Claire Martin ’17

Portland, OR

Claire Martin '17To the everlasting credit of my parents, neither my mother nor my father ever imposed their respective colleges upon me as I grew up. I was raised in a house of “Find your best fit,” and it has been one of my greatest blessings. However, I have always known that my father loved his undergraduate experience at the University of Puget Sound. When it came time for me to choose my own college, I couldn’t help but remember all our family trips from Portland to Seattle that inevitably featured a stop at the mythical, ivy-covered campus that my father described as “The place to be happy.” 

The Pacific Northwest is my home. It was not difficult to choose the college that, to me, embodies the Northwest’s greatest qualities: lush green, contagious friendliness, and plaid culture. The University of Puget Sound taught me, at a very young age, that you don’t have to go far away to be swept away. And as I close out my fourth semester, I can’t help but mourn the fact that I am already halfway through my time at this incredible school. For me, Puget Sound has only gotten better with age. This beautiful campus feels more like home than I ever could’ve dreamed. The friendships that began to blossom in the echoing corridors of Regester Hall last year have bloomed into deep, fulfilling relationships that I know will last long after we have hung up our cap and gown. Tacoma itself has morphed from a sprawling, industrial mystery to a familiar oasis of glittering possibility. Every day, there is a new reason to fall in love my school. Wonder and joy seep between the red bricks of the castle-like buildings and I cannot imagine being anywhere else.

The student body of Puget Sound breathes fervor into every single moment on this campus. I have never encountered a single student without at least one life-driving passion, be it rock-climbing, beekeeping, or promoting human rights. People care about things almost as much as they care about each other. Within weeks of arriving on campus in my first year, I was lucky enough to find a niche of impossibly talented and deeply committed friends in the campus theater department who welcomed me with open arms and inspired me to extend my studies beyond the traditional humanities and embrace theatrical scholarship.

My two majors have provided me with immensely rewarding opportunities in literary and theatrical discovery. However, the tremendous level of engagement from students and professors alike has led to wonderful experiences across the liberal arts spectrum. All of my classes at Puget Sound have been diverse and stimulating, highly analytical and superbly collaborative. Many faculty members feel more like mentors than instructors. This is yet another benefit of attending a college that encourages scholarly dialogue between professors and their students. The support I have received from my academic advisors has been unceasing. Thanks to them, I have secured a place in a creative writing program in Dublin, Ireland next spring. My excitement is indescribable.

Ireland…theater…mentorship…these academic gifts are the direct result of your humbling assistance. Were it not for the contributions you and other donors have made to support financial aid, a Puget Sound education would not be affordable for me or for my classmates. Without your support, most students here would not have the chance to be a part of the great, glowing consciousness of this exhilarating school. Without your support, many high-schoolers would not get to experience the spine-tingling joy of slipping the acceptance envelope into the mailbox on May 1st. Without your support, I would not be standing here today. Your faith stokes our enthusiasm for learning and your generosity enables it. Thank you, thank you for entrusting us with the means to pursue our dreams at a school that cultivates the mind, body, and soul for a life of scholarship and discovery. Thank you for seeing potential in all of us and for providing the opportunity for us to be here today. We are so very grateful.