Part II: Mentor and Leader Exemplar

Near the heart of Christian faith, and both essential,
Are the Shepherd’s Psalm and the Savior’s Prayer,
Ascending from ‘my shepherd’ to ‘our Father’s’ care,
This Way offers humankind unlimited potential.
With whole heart and characteristic humility she embraced
This faith; it was the spring of her thought and deeds,
Joining academic and governing strengths for needs,
She brought rich resources to the tasks she faced.
A mentor superlative and generous,
Turning aside from personal rewards,
To challenge youth for their regards,
Treasuring past and present, engaging the momentous,
Preparing her charges to face the future’s events,
Not overwhelmed by the quotidian draining flow,
But awakened to a world both dark and aglow,
To rise above the self-centered and malcontents.
Teachers’ gifts were given proper elevation,
Student achievements brought to light,
Discipline used to channel rebel fight,
Always aimed to elicit redemption.
Unpretentious, she had no delusions of grandeur,
No show for show’s sake, no trace of arrogance,
For her, young lives too important for petulance,                                              Or a leader’s narcissism, shunning that fateful lure.
Soft-spoken, but with the strength of appreciation
Gained by fair treatment and personal interest,
By lofty standards and the support she pressed
For student endeavors, raising aims and expectation.
It was no small matter to have her at the helm,
To marshal an upward drive defining
All-round development, while shining
Goodness and grace from a transcendent realm.
She made no claim and sought no fame,
Unceasingly she lived to give,
Best showing what it is to live,
With spirit regal and in the larger frame.
The new social law to many was galling,
Rousing bigotry and antipathy;
She endured abuse with equanimity,
Though maligned, she remained true to her calling.
Excelling in devotion to all her charges,
Trust gladly she gave to those aspiring,
And trust she gained by frequent inspiring,
Determined to see their horizon enlarges.
Her mentor’s challenges and encouragements,
Were incentives constantly to achieve, and lift
One’s aims, to maximize a gift,
To give one’s best in all events.
Authentic was her faith without attention,
Few knew of the Bible group for years she taught,
A large class of men for whom she faithfully wrought;
Were they aware how rare was their invention?
She excelled in intangibles, bringing no boast,
A fruitful blending of town and gown,
A spirit for the common good was sown,
Creativity and caring that count the most.
Rising to leadership during the Second World War,
She mastered wartime exigencies exceptionally,
Showing adeptness and skill professionally,
Proving still more a mentor and leader exemplar.
The truest servant-leader may pass
And be forgotten; it is the race’s
Sore loss when we no longer know their graces
And deeds which enriched our way, alas,
Yet in a larger sense they are not forgotten,
Such gifts live on in an exalted realm
That time can neither erase nor overwhelm;
Good endures because it is God-begotten.
The gifts of the self-giving live on, above all,
In those whose lives were influenced and blest
By these friends of grace, not satisfied to rest
Until in deeds they too live out the higher call.
The rolling sea brought ease to stress and strain,
Returning year by year in solitude,
She found the waves worked wonders on her mood,
Even as illness took its toll and grew in pain.
She vowed that cancer would not defeat
Her spirit—with her no empty platitude,
In all seasons living in grace and gratitude,
The body succumbed yet her spirit remained upbeat.
No mistaking her spirit was self-effacing,
To serve others her passion late and soon,
Deeds of inspiration through her life were strewn,
Her persona beautiful and bracing.
Ever thoughtful of others, altogether gracious,
Integrity unquestioned, and calm but in command,
Seeking the best for students and teachers as planned,
Alma Martin made our alma mater more precious.
In all things she aimed to shape and lift
For good those entrusted to her caring,
To make the world a better place she was daring,
Her life with faithful devotion a surpassing gift.