Harvard Prof, EMU Alum to Speak on Campus

Alfalfa to Ivy: Memoir of a Harvard Medical School Dean traces author Dr. Joseph B. Martin’s journey from Mennonite farm boy to the highest levels of academic achievement and leadership. Dr. Martin is making a stop on his book tour at his alma mater, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), on Oct. 18. The public is invited to the presentation at 4 p.m. in the University Commons, Mainstage Theater.

Martin’s memoir  provides “an intimate perspective on academic politics and health care in Canada and the United States, which Dr. Martin is perfectly poised to critique,” according to publisher  University of Alberta Press.  Alfalfa to Ivy is a “compelling narrative for non-specialists as well as academics and professionals,” according to the publisher. The public lecture will focus on Dr. Martin’s lifetime of learning on the topic of leadership.

After one year of medical school at the University of Alberta at Edmonton, Martin journeyed to Eastern Mennonite where he studied one year, receiving a BS degree in Bible in 1959.  Following his time at EMU, Martin pursued advanced studies in medical science that ultimately led him to the top leadership positions at the medical schools of the University of California at San Francisco and more recently at Harvard.

“That one year [at EMU] transformed my life spiritually, emotionally and philosophically,” he said in a 2010 EMU commencement address. “I focused on Bible studies, ethics, some New Testament Greek, and took Mennonite history, music classes and choral conducting and sang in the male touring chorus – a fantastic experience indelibly imprinted in memory.”

Most importantly, he notes, he also met his wife of 51 years, Rachel Ann Wenger Martin, while at Eastern Mennonite.

Dr. Martin is a member of EMU’s Commission for the Sciences, a group of prominent leaders who are supporting efforts to garner lead funding for a new Suter Science Complex.

Dr. Joseph B. Martin is the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University.

The book will be available for purchase and signing at a reception immediately following the lecture in Common Grounds Coffeehouse, University Commons.

Questions can be directed to EMU President’s Office, 540-432-4100 or pres_office@emu.edu.